IHT/NYT: still clueless about Beijing 2008 Games

Lofty Games vision, grim reality?
I refer to the article by David M. Herszenhorn – 8 February 2013 (IHT version)
On the New York Times website:
“Putin’s Vision of Olympic Glory Meets a More Earthbound Reality in Sochi”
Published: February 6, 2013 (NYT)
The article mentions US$42 billion spent for the 2008 Beijing Games. The figure is totally wrong, as it happens very frequently in the media. My estimate for the real cost is well below $10 billion. Journalists still cannot distinguish between investing in a new subway line and running the Olympic show. I hope his figures for Sochi are more reliable. Having worked inside the Beijing Government I have a pretty good view on the real cost of the Olympics, except for the part related to security (e.g. police forces, army and related).
Beijing did not even have a budget to build the stadiums: this is the reason why they called me. Find us the money, they told me. So we did. The city proper spent little for all the venues, except for the Bird’s Nest: they bought back the investment done by the private sector. The Watercube: donation by overseas Chinese. And so on.
Not to wonder why people still ask me to give seminars on the issue.
As for Sochi: a different case, they building stuff that will have little or no use in the future. That is real waste.

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