I disagree with Shirley Leung’s assertion that opponents of a Boston Olympics are cynical (“Don’t let cynics stop Boston’s Olympic dream in its tracks,” Business, June 14). My opposition comes from an examination of the fiscal realities and a deep reverence for Olympic ideals.

For many cities hosting the Olympics, the event has been a fiscal and city-planning bust. In Montreal, costs exceeded the revenues generated by the Games, and the city was left with buildings it did not know how to use. Imagined revenues from new structures in Atlanta were never realized.

The world is radically different than the one in which the modern Olympics started. In the 1920s the world was much more far-flung, and it made some sense to try to connect the world by having Olympians travel to new venues all over the globe. In today’s world we are almost hyper-connected to one another.


Today’s Olympics are a billion-dollar media event. Host countries have consistently exploited the Games in order to broadcast their presumed greatness. Witness China in 2008 and Russia this year, with Vladimir Putin’s subtropical Winter Games. Does Boston really want to be a part of this?

Now it makes more sense for Olympians to join one another at a permanent site every four years. Then the world can join them through all of the communications resources we have today. The Games would be about the athletes and their Olympic fellowship.

Richard Howard