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Albertville, France (Winter, 1992)

Boom or Bust? Bust

Albertville hosted the Winter Olympic Games hoping to boost an ailing economy and stimulate flagging tourism in the French Savoy Alps. However because various towns in the region wanted a piece of the action, the 57 Olympic events were spread out over 13 locales and 620 square kilometers, which produced a logistical nightmare. The French government spent $1.1 billion on regional infrastructure. Another $189 million was invested in building or upgrading sports facilities.

Organizers declared a loss of $67 million. An expected boost in tourism did not materialize for Albertville, which instead found itself saddled with a huge deficit caused by cost overruns. Other towns in the region suffered the same fate, while some places, such as Courcheval and Val d’Isere (pictured here) prospered from the improved transport links.

Photo: Nathan Bilow | Getty Images