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The placing of Olympic Games exhibits three fundamental dimensions, namely; the political, cultural, and economic ones, thus warranting the label of ‘mega’ events to the phenomenon (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 300). Therefore, Olympics have for many decades assumed a significant economic, cultural, and political change in the hosting country. The developments suggested by the event holding include not only economic shifts but also social ones, as well. Sports play a central role in stimulating the inclusion of every group of the society. Thus, the sport governing bodies have an enormous task to carry out in terms of social integration and development at all organizational and participation levels. Nevertheless, inequalities have customarily existed within the sports dimension (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 301; Samara and Watts 2013, 1-3). Many examples of disparity can be found on race, disability, and socio-economic status. Although they might not be necessarily deliberate, they frequently possess a historical background.
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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Inequality
The players behind the 2020 tender anticipate the Games to have an equally transformative impact on the world’s opinion of Tokyo city. Also, the games will aid in boosting the state’s recuperation from the 2011 tsunami shock (Samara and Watts 2013, 1). Tokyo would become the primary host of a lavish party, and just like London; it will be capable of putting on a major event demonstration in the city’s heart. Thus, Tokyo authorities promise “compressed Games,” with at least 85% of the settings within eight km zone (Samara and Watts 2013, 1). They also stress on good transport infrastructure besides a pleasant welcome to the country’s guests. However, far more essential than the prospective construction are the issues that come with hosting mega sporting events such as Olympics for the general community. Besides the fact that the 2020 Olympics will lift Tokyo’s economy to a significant level, it will also impact the unprotected and marginalized representatives of the community (Samara and Watts 2013, 1).
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Therefore, taking the previous Summer Olympics in Japan as an example, the country attained rapid economic growth owing mainly to the burgeoning exports driven by trade liberalization and chemical industries development. Income inequalities narrowed, and Japan achieved full employment (Muroi 2008, 2). The hosting of Olympic Games in Japan enhanced the construction of infrastructure and developed transportation networks, particularly within and around Tokyo, its capital city. A proposal to double revenues, which signified the high-development period, was realized in advance, and growing revenues ignited a post-Olympic consumption bang in the 1960s (Muroi 2008, 2). By the time the Olympics were held in Tokyo, wages levels were even, and the country had witnessed rapid advancement in the development of infrastructure and overall social stability.
The revenue doubling project improved the standards of living radically. The Olympics took place as the country reached the peak of its high-growth surge. The common residents could feel the profits of economic growth via improved infrastructure, growing wages, as well as increased availability of end user durables (Muroi 2008, 5). The country also welcomed many foreign tourists and athletes as a host state of the Olympics, which offered Japan an opportunity to improve its self-assurance within the international community and in the global arena, in general. Thus, this increasing self-confidence drove the late 1960s’ consumer boom.
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At the same time, those behind the winning 2020 proposal expect these Games to have an equally transformative impact on the globe’s opinion of the modern-day Tokyo city (Samara and Watts 2013, 1). To many people, the forthcoming 2020 Olympics would lift the economy and morale of the country, akin to the function played by the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Pointing on these thoughts, Japan’s Prime Minister has projected that hosting the impending 2020 Olympics would position the country at the hub of the globe besides boosting the national economy at large.
Just like in 1964, the Olympic Games would necessitate the construction of Olympic parks and villages, a specially designed stadium, and numerous other specialized facilities (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 300). In addition, the 2020 Olympic hosting city would need to carry out considerable investments. Tokyo’s infrastructure needs alongside the aspiration to preserve the national prestige are expected to create various opportunities. Besides, the Olympics-associated construction would necessitate a massive workforce, frequently and for a long-term perspective that would work fast to meet firm deadlines (Samara and Watts 2013, 2). Most references to the construction work so far for the 2020 Olympics have been a subject of job creation (Samara and Watts 2013, 2).
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However, mega events, such as Olympics exacerbate inequality both in developing and high-income countries and might create significant hardships for the unprotected strata of the society (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 301). Olympics often bring about the dislodgment of low-income families in addition to diverting the needed infrastructural investments from these regions and throughout the host country. The common consequences accompanying mega events include exacerbation of inequity through displacement, focusing investments in the already rich regions and building spaces of exclusion (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 301). Moreover, the mega events come with many and varied urban legacies. However, when it comes to the consideration of resources allocation, one would not expect that the poor would benefit but rather should expect even greater inequality (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 301).
Nevertheless, hosting mega sporting events, which attract global attention, apparently provides ample opportunities for the achievement of geopolitical goals. The politics that frame emerging supremacies’ hosting of big sports overlap to some significant extent with their broader internal and external politics. Thus, the organization of a mega sporting event exemplifies a country’s economic development and also facilitates affirmative image-making in tourism experiences and media coverage context (Maenning and Zimbalist 2013, 303).