On September 7th 2013, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced to the world that Tokyo would be the host for the 2020 Olympic Games, much to the sorrow of Madrid and Istanbul. It certainly wasn’t the most competitive candidate pool in recent years; Spain was in severe economic recession and boasted a 27% unemployment rate, while Istanbul’s reputation was tarnished somewhat due to a mixture of anti-government protests back in June, the bloody Syrian civil war, as well as a string of doping scandals among Turkish athletes.
Just admit it: watching a gold medalist, tears streaming down their cheeks, standing on the podium to the sound of “Advance Australia Fair” elicits a feeling of pride in most Australians.
Yet how, might we ask, does one put a price on gold medal glory? What trade offs do we face by allocating millions to our few sporting champions? And what are the opportunity costs involved in subsidising an athlete’s preparation for an event held once every four years?