Cracow’s bleak future as a host of the Winter Olympics in 2022.

The organization of the Olympic games in Cracow can be more of a curse than a blessing.

       Cracow has submitted its application file to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The International Olympic Committee will decide whether Cracow should stand the chance to follow in Sochi’s footsteps and stage such a mega sporting event. It seems a great honour that Cracow could host the Olympics and be internationally renowned as the Olympic city. But, the games may not be, in fact, so glorious and prestigious to our country. Although not obvious at first sight, various disadvantages of running the Olympics on such a big scale outweigh the Olympic glory.

Resistance to the 2022 Olympics in Cracow is fully justifiable due to the fact that the costs of organizing such a spectacle are enormous. There is much evidence to suggest that hosting the Olympic games can burden the country with crippling debts. If Cracow gains the right to run the event, at the beginning we will have to spend five billion zloty on only administrative costs. Then hundreds of billion zloty will be poured into the renovation and construction of sports venues like ice rinks, ski slopes, ski jumps and so forth. Not to mention a big sum of money that will have to be spent on road infrastructure, such as the famous road called Zakopianka or the railway lines from Chabówka, Zakopane to Nowy Sacz. Even though the International Olympic Committee will cover 40% of costs and sponsors may devote some amount of money to the event in return for advertising, the rest of costs, including also those unexpected ones, will be paid by the government. This all means that the expenses on such a global event may be so vast that our country will not be able to cover them and eventually we will slip into serious debts. A great example to follow is Sweden which pulled out of the 2022 Winter Olympics bidding for financial reasons, though the country is considered considerably wealthy.

Another argument for rebelling against the Olympic games in Cracow is the pristine nature that will be disturbed. The location of the Olympic Games will be Malopolska region which is famous for its outstanding natural environment like The Tatra Mountains or Tatra National Park. Many endangered and protected species, such as brown bears, Eurasian lynxes or Gray wolves are concentrated there. The World Wide Fund for Nature in Poland warns about the Olympic event. it will lead to the destruction of land which will be later used to build sport facilities, housing, etc. A paradise for hundreds of vulnerable species may be crushed. The degree of damage to pristine mountain forest land and to the habitat of so many animal species can be very high and extreme. That is why the Winter Olympics should not take place there.

There is a group of people, especially sportsmen like Jagna Marczułajtis, who support the idea of hosting the Winter Olympics in Cracow. Such a spectacular event can provide improved infrastructure. Cracow can become a world-class hub for various sports facilities, offering a range of indoor and outdoor activities all over the year. This seems appealing to host the Olympic Games. However, the modernized infrastructure may not provide long–term benefits. When the Olympic torch goes out, the sport venues, which dazzled athletes and fans during the games, may be rarely used due to the little interest in some sport disciplines, such as a luge or bobsleigh. A memorable Olympics in Athens in 2004 became very symbolic of the government’s waste as the venues were not properly utilized and even abandoned after the Olympics.

Over the recent years the Olympic Games has become one of the most significant sporting events. For some cities, which show the potential to host the Olympics, it is a great opportunity to gain long-lasting economic, social and cultural benefits. But, not every city is so fortunate enough to afford staging such an event. Cracow is definitely not able to hold the world’s foremost sports competition. The 2022 Winter Olympics can not only bring huge costs spent on the sport facilities, weakening the country’s economy, but it can also damage the natural environment of flora and fauna.

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