Last decades have been marked, assuredly, by the growing internationalization of cities and this increased autonomy of local actions, beyond the national scale, is a particularly relevant frame to study the Olympic phenomenon. As a matter of fact, several scales are represented and interacting in the Olympic Games :on the one hand, with athletes competing under different banners, the competition stands out as an example of nationalism' struggle, but for the host city, local dynamics and local development are also at stake. A competition between cities interest in the Games is obvious and the main evidence of that is the fact that every four year, dozens of city councils are bitterly fighting all over the globe to win this jackpot, namely the honor of staging the Olympics.
[...] In this line, insiders of Olympic cities increasingly tend to organize themselves into coalitions to combat the preparations of the Games. Generally speaking, they advocate a redefinition of the Olympic movement's role towards a commitment in favour of the promotion of social justice instead of exacerbating pre-existing urban gaps and degrading the environment. Toronto 1996's example of the ironically named “Bread Not Circuses” coalition (bnc) is particularly representative of these democratic fears. Their argumentation focused on two side-effects of Olympics: the lack of representation and poverty, even if they also included some green militants. [...]
[...] The fact is, first, that over the last three decades, the change of economic context has urged world cities to reconsider growth and to compete at the worldwide scale rather than at the regional or even national. Moreover, in post-industrial societies, urban development tends to focus on consumption activities rather than on manufacturing production. This paradigm perfectly suits with Games-related growth. Historically, the awakening of Olympics as a financial opportunity is linked to the outstanding economic success of Los Angeles games in 1984. [...]
[...] flagrant violation of Olympic ideals experienced by many cities such as Toronto, Sydney, Atlanta and of course, the notorious Salt Lake city scandal broken out in 1998 Not only are Olympiads not a linear path towards growth (contrary to private and public elite's assertions), but they also open up a host of very pragmatic problems by damaging resident's quality life without a corresponding compensation. Which concrete benefits and costs remain for city-dwellers in the Games' venture? As we already suggested, the face of their city is suddenly and radically changed: in a short-term perspective, their daily life is subjected to many transformations during the sportive competition itself, like restrictions of freedom of movement and of civic liberties. [...]
[...] What makes the Games so valuable, actually, is a much more profound intention to enhance the host city's image because above all, Olympic games are a golden opportunity to catch the world‘s attention. The implicit promise and award for organizing the competition is, indeed, a national and international recognition particularly worthwhile in terms of capital investments, so the range of activities stimulated is far broader than the accumulation of the sportive and touristy sectors benefits. A shining example of that are Salt Lake City's winter games. [...]
[...] For a potential host city, the prospect of being associated with this mythology is a determinant factor, a key for development to get a better understanding of Olympic dynamic. To say it in a nutshell, host cities are not staging a competition; they are welcoming the world and becoming its centre. An international ideology can be put forward in a geographically restricted area which reunites a high number of nations (more than 200), as the five-rings-flag and the torch fire relay remind us. [...]
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