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Sydney (Summer 2000)

Boom or Bust? Bust

Although Sydney put on very well organized and popular games, the benefits of the Olympics to the city have been small. The organizers of the Games overshot their budget in a familiar Olympic fashion: It almost tripled to $3.8 billion before the competition had begun, for which the public ended up paying about a third.

According to reports by The Independent newspaper, Sue Holliday, the former chief planner for the Sydney Games, told a conference that the host city should have focused more broadly on a legacy program for the Olympic site. “Sydney is now paying the price,” she said. The centerpiece for the Games, the Sydney Olympic Park, became yet another white elephant, with a plan for its use not made until 2005. Studies have also shown that the Olympics did not do much to attract tourists to Sydney or boost participation in sports.

Photo: Phillip Hayson | Getty Images