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Montreal, Canada (Summer, 1976)

Boom or Bust? Bust

One of the most infamous busts, the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal had the legacy of taking three decades to repay its debts and deterring many other countries from bidding for the Olympics for many years. Before the Games the city’s mayor, Jean Drapeau, declared: “the Olympics can no more have a financial deficit than a man can have a baby.” But the debt on the Olympics rose to $1.5 billion dollars and it took Quebec until 2006 to pay off, by which point the Olympic stadium (pictured here) had been given the nickname “The Big Owe”.

Construction on the Olympic stadium was not completed by the time the games begun due to problems with the unusual design and strikes by the workers. During the games and for 11 years afterwards the stadium did not have either a tower or a roof, which were finally completed in 1987. The problems did not end there. In 1991, a 55-tonne chunk of roof fell after support beams snapped – luckily, no one was injured. A second section of the roof collapsed in the winter of 1999 as workers were setting it up for an auto show.

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