CAE Reading and Use of English Part 6
You are going to read four writers’ contributions to a debate about hosting the Olympic Games. For questions 37-40, choose from the reviews A-D. The reviews may be chosen more than once.
Hosting the Olympics – is it a good idea?
Four writers give their views about what an Olympic Games can do for the host country.
The Olympics are undoubtedly expensive to stage and none of the Games in recent times have made an immediate profit, but they should be considered a long-term investment. The large infrastructure projects like new roads and transport systems, the new sports venues and cultural facilities, the regeneration of rundown urban areas and the increase in tourism all end up stimulating the economy eventually. The international media focus on the Games can also lift the host country’s profile to another level. This has a knock-on effect on attitudes within the host country. International attention and proof of a capacity to rise to the challenge can pull the country together, make it feel good about itself and put it in a position to compete in the modern world.
Weighing up the pros and cons of hosting an Olympics is a complex business. Research suggests that few former hosts have experienced long-term economic gains, indeed, certain cities like Montreal and Los Angeles have taken decades to pay off the debts incurred in preparing for and running the two-week-long event, and in cases like these, an unwelcome PR effect of international dimensions seems to come attached. The real benefits are less tangible in that they inspire a local feel-good factor, enhancing a sense of pride in belonging to a city and country that can pull off such a massive and awkward enterprise. There is also the chance for everyone, the younger generations in particular, to observe elite athletes, and therefore sporting excellence, exercise and fitness become cool things to aspire to.
For a host city, the Olympic Games are all about legacy. They present an opportunity to showcase, domestically and to the world at large, the notion that the city possesses the know-how and manpower to manage a hugely complex international event, plus an impressive new infrastructure of sports facilities, accommodation and public transport, a vibrant, competent, friendly local population, and historic sites and places of natural beauty for tourists to visit. There is the sporting legacy too, with the greatest athletes from around the world inspiring mass participation, a crucial development when modern lifestyles tend to have a significantly detrimental effect on fitness and health. Critics of the notion of hosting the Olympics often focus on the more easily measurable economic implications which suggest that the Games are not a viable proposition, but the Olympics are not just about money; they are about other aspects of legacy which are at least as significant.
Most positive developments that might be associated with hosting the Olympics would happen anyway. The infrastructural investments could be made, incentives for tourists to visit could be offered and trade delegations could be energised. Past experience suggests the financial costs tend to outweigh the benefits anyway, when variables like the absurd bidding process, security and mismanagement are factored in. What of the more intangible spinoffs? First, there is no hard evidence that hosting the Olympics leads to greater public involvement in sports. In fact, studies show sporting activity actually fell in certain Olympic cities once the ‘afterparty enthusiasm’ had worn off. Genuine long-term participation in sports comes from grassroots investment in schools and community facilities rather than glitzy shows. Most Olympic Games are concentrated in one city, usually the capital, and have little impact, economic or otherwise, on other parts of the country. In fact, in some cases, research reveals significant regional resentment about all the attention from government, the media and other organisations being directed at one city. So much for pride in one’s country.
Which writer …
37 has a different opinion to the others regarding the economic impact of hosting the Olympics?
38 shares writer B’s opinion about the implications for sport in the host country?
39 expresses a different view to the others about the effect that hosting the Olympics can have on a national sense of identity?
40 takes a similar view to writer A about the likely consequence for the host country’s international reputation?