Quando l'importante è vincere

The Economics of the Olympic Games

If it has ever been true that the important thing is not winning but taking part, Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s famous saying is poorly suited for the reality of the contemporary Olympics, in which – by and large – silver is not won and gold is lost. For athletes, the Olympic Games require spending thousands of hours training, perhaps even risking their health. For cities, hosting an Olympiad entails spending colossal sums to build infrastructure and facilities that do not always find any subsequent use. For many businesses, the Olympics mean investing ever-increasing amounts of money to sponsor or broadcast competitions often held in countries that do not respect fundamental human rights. Yet the fascination with symbolic gold persists, as if the gold were real, as does the admiration for athletes capable of setting extraordinary records and conveying the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. This book helps readers understand what the Olympics are actually about.

Andrea Goldstein works in an international organization and is a founding partner of the M&M Minima Moralia Foundation in Rome.