Pop Around Town : Did the Olympic Games "save" Rio de Janeiro?

【明報專訊】The Olympic Games are a truly global cultural phenomenon whose influence in the modern world continues to grow. A large number of developing cities are keen to bid to host the games primarily because they crave economic revival. An Olympics host city hopes to turn a mega-sports event, which is cultural in nature, into an engine of economic revival through large-scale infrastructure development. "We have saved the city as a cultural concept," said the mayor of Barcelona after the city had hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. Many people in Spain believe Barcelona has enjoyed a post-industrial revival because it hosted the Olympics. This means that, today, a very high level of expectation is generally assigned to the Olympics. Needless to say, as the Olympics have grown in scale and global influence, so has the International Olympic Committee (IOC). "The level of influence the IOC has on cities and the power it exercises over them can hardly be compared to remits of any of the large international development organisations," said Dmitry Sivaev, a British researcher specialising in the economic impacts of mega-events in the world.