The following is an excerpt from Matt Bonesteel | October 9, 2018 | Thewashingtonpost.com |
In 2013, when they were awarded the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo officials said they could stage the Games for 829 billion yen, or $7.3 billion at the current exchange rate of 113 yen to the dollar. It was a thrifty plan, at least compared to other Olympics. It also was a work of wildly optimistic fiction, as such initial figures always are when the Games are concerned.
By 2016, an expert panel set up by Tokyo’s newly elected governor predicted that the price tag of the 2020 Olympics could exceed $30 billion, a staggering sum exceeded only by the spending for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games ($45 billion) and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ($51 billion) and a worrying sum to the International Olympic Committee, which has struggled to find willing bidders to host the Games in recent years because they’ve become such a financial boondoggle.
Since that 2016 estimate, the IOC has adopted what it’s calling “the New Norm,” a series of reforms designed to reduce the cost of staging the Olympics. But that plan won’t go into full effect until the 2024 Paris Olympics, meaning Tokyo organizers mostly have to handle cost overruns themselves. It seems they are struggling: According to a report released this week by the national government’s Board of Audit and reviewed by the Associated Press, Japan is likely to spend at least $25 billion and possibly more for the 2020 Games. That figure is nearly four times the original 2013 estimate and more than double the number that was thrown out just 10 months ago, when the Tokyo organizing committee said the Olympic budget was about $12 billion.
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