Monday, October 19, 2009

Would you go to the Olympics?

With the recent announcement that the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Torsten and I started talking about the various upcoming Olympic games, and how excited we are (or aren't) to watch them.

I've never really been that into the Olympics, but once we started talking about it I realized I have strong memories of watching various Olympic events dating back to the 1992 games in Barcelona, when I was 8 years old (I remember watching the swimming events with my sister while we were visiting our aunt and uncle in Seattle).

So, I did a bit of research into the upcoming venues for the Olympics:

2010 Winter games: Vancouver, BC, Canada (Feb. 12-28)
2012 Summer games: London, England (Jul. 27-Aug. 12)
2014 Winter games: Sochi, Russia (Feb. 7-23)
2016 Summer games: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Aug. 5-21)
2018 and beyond: TBD (though only three cities are bidding for the 2018 Winter games)

Then Torsten made an offhand comment about how since his best friend lives in London, we should take advantage of having free accommodations and go to the 2012 games. My instinctive reaction was along the lines of, "Ha ha ha ha HAAAAA yeah right," but then I started thinking about it and actually? Well, maybe it would be kind of awesome.

The reason my initial reaction was so negative is because in general, I imagine that during the Olympics is the worst possible time to visit a city. It will be massively expensive and massively crowded. The weather will likely be very hot or very cold, prices for everything will be inflated, and tourists will be crawling all over the place. Wouldn't it make more sense to visit a city when the Olympics weren't going on, so as to have a bit more space?

And, you know, I think this principle absolutely applies to cities you've never been to before and may never visit again, like Sochi or Rio. But London? Well, we've both been there multiple times. Torsten's best friend lives there, and we intend to visit him as much as possible over the course of our lives, so we'll definitely be going again. So, if we go once when it's really crowded? Who cares, right? We can skip all the tourist stuff because we've seen it before and will have opportunities to see it again. And we won't have to pay exorbitant prices for a hotel.

Really, if you're ever going to go to the Olympics, these would be the ideal circumstances under which to go, right? Yes, the city will be more crowded than usual, but given our lack of a need to do anything specific, we could totally deal with that. And the summer games are definitely more interesting than the winter games. (Plus, who wants to watch outdoor sports in the snow?)

So, yeah, 2012 is a bit far away and we're not exactly making plans right now (and I have no idea how much tickets to Olympic events cost, but I imagine they aren't cheap), and a lot would depend on work and finances and babies, but... well, it's an idea. One that I'm definitely more interested in than I was two days ago.

What about you? Would you want to go to the Olympics? If so, would you rather go when they were held in a brand new city or one that was more familiar?

32 comments:

  1. I'm really not big on the Olympics at all, so I doubt I'd make a super expensive trip to see them- regardless of the country. I think it would be much better to visit a new city when it's a little less bustling.

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  2. I have mixed feelings about the Olympics. I enjoy watching them on some level, though I'm always a bit snarky about them. The 1996 Olympics in ATL are a strong memory from my childhood - we went to a couple of events, and a number of relatives visited us. Mostly it was really expensive, and hot, and you couldn't see that well... I feel the same about most sporting events - I can see a lot better on TV. But hey, I also don't like most live music, so there ya go.

    On a more important level, for me, when I spent a summer climbing all over the country during undergrad, we were in Squamish BC (near Vancouver) for about a month. I remember climbing in areas that were marked for destruction to make way for "improvements" for the 2010 games. It turns my stomach thinking of what was destroyed, and why. But, that's the way of the world - most people just don't play in the areas before they are lost.

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  3. I'm going to the Vancouver Olympics, but only because I live in Vancouver. I don't think I'd travel for them, but I want to go to see them while they're here! :)

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  4. I wouldn't want to spend an exorbitant amount of money to go see the Olympics but if I were in your situation, I would seriously consider it. I think it would be neat to see some of the games and not feel pressured to cram a bunch of touristy things in to the trip as well. Sounds like an ideal situation, should you choose to go. Keep us posted!

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  5. I went to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. I was in middle school, so I don't remember tons about it, but the memories I do have are all fun. We got really good tickets to track and field finals from my dad's company, so I got to see some memorable events up close and meet some US athletes in person. We bought tickets after we got there for badminton, which was also surprisingly fun. I think those tickets were pretty cheap, because I can't imagine my parents paying a lot for tickets. I'm really glad I had that opportunity, and if I have an opportunity to take my kids, I definitely will.

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  6. I think it would be SUPER fun, but then I get off on Palpable Excitement In The Air. That said, I wouldn't make an expensive special trip JUST for the Olympics. My in-laws have a timeshare in Whistler (Vancouver) and we thought it might be fun, but then we factor in transportation from here to there and we might as well just shoot ourselves on the side of the highway right now.

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  7. I would LOVE to go to the Olympics if it were financially feasible. I adore the Olympics. One year, cable television sold this Olympic pay per view thing that was three channels of 24 hours of Olympics so you could see EVERYTHING, not just the highlights they showed in the evenings. It was BLISS.

    If I had a friend who lived in the city who knew their way around, that would make it all that more attractive to me. Also, London would probably be the ideal summer Olympics locations as it's never really HOT hot there, is it?

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  8. I'm definitely in the camp of your initial reaction. With the winter Olympics coming up in Vancouver my honey has mentioned it a few times over the last couple of years...(It's so close...it would be exciting...etc). But I'm so not interested, and we can't afford it anyway even if we both WERE super interested. Which to me, I think actually attending the Olympics vs. watching it on tv you have to be extremely interested in it for it to even be worth it. From what I hear it is hard to get tickets, it is really expensive, amazingly crowded, the venues can be spread out all over the place, and there is still no guarantee that you get into any specific events. Maybe I'm a spoilsport, but none of that sounds fun to me. I'd rather watch it on tv. Or go to the movies while everyone ELSE is watching it on tv!

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  9. I love watching certain events - but I don't do well in crowds. I don't think I'd go - unless those 2018s end up in Denver. Then I'd attend an event or two.

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  10. Just visited the link - Denver didn't bid. Disregard my 2018 comment. Honestly, that would be a nightmare for the city.

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  11. funny, Ben and I were planning to go to the 2012 Olympics in London... though yes, they are QUITE expensive... and obviously that plan completely changed, haha!

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  12. That's funny, my hubby and I both prefer watching the winter olympics, especially skiing events for some reason.

    Even so, we're actually planning to go to the London Olympics in 2012 for the same reason as you - my oldest friend married a Brit, and they currently live in Cardiff, so we're hoping to go visit them for a week and take a small side-trip to London to see maybe one or two Olympic events. We do figure we'll have a baby by then, but theoretically it will be about a year old, so old enough to stay with my parents (who will be retired by then), or who knows, we might even take it along if it's a laid-back kind of baby, haha.

    But the hubs brought up the Vancouver Olympics, which is when we discovered that we both prefer the winter games and we both like ski jumping and moguls the best! So we might make that our big vacation for next year, since I've somehow never been to Canada even though it's only a few hours north, and even though I've managed to travel to two other continents multiple times, haha. I'm sure we'd only go to a few events at most (since yeah, I'm sure they're not cheap, but Paul would also like to see the luge and/or bobsledding), and would spend the rest of the time driving to nearby spots outside the city and hiking and stuff.

    What summer events do you like? I think most things are pretty boring to watch, although I guess I like some of the gymnastics events, like uneven bars. But ski jumping is my favorite thing to watch by far! Apparently I have an affinity for watching people fly through the air? haha.

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  13. The Olympics have never really done it for me. I think I still resent them because they screwed with my TV schedule back in the day.

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  14. It never occurred to me to ever consider going to visit a city while it was hosting the Olympics. In fact, up until the other week, I was making plans to vacate Chicago during the 2016 Games. I guess that means, no, I'd never consider going to visit a city when it's busting at the seams with tourists. I'd rather visit in the off-season.

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  15. H's cousin is likely to compete in the Olympics in London, so we are going to try to go. I knew some people who went when it was in Utah, and they had a great time.

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  16. We have some friends who try to visit EVERY Olympics. It's like their family reunion/vacation. Obviously, these people are not hurting for the dollars. But whenever I remember this tradition of theirs, I don't think, "Oh, if ONLY we had that kind of money!" I think, "CRAZY. They are CRAZY." Go to Rome, Greece, Japan, etc.--all to sit in the stands and watch, well, curling. Or whatevers.

    BUT. If it were a chance to go visit with some friends and hide out when the crowds got to be too much--that might be different. When the Democratic National Convention came here last year, I hid out at home and tried to about our daily business as if nothing were happening (which, way out where we live, was true). If we'd been on vacation, though, and had the time and mental energy to go spend the day standing in line and Feeling the Excitement, I would have liked to go.

    So I guess what I'm saying is: if you're going to make a special trip to see the Olympics, the situation you have seems like the best possible. And it will be fun.

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  17. I've always really enjoyed the "Olympics season" as it were -- I love watching the opening ceremonies, and then for the duration of the games I love how around the world we're all interconnected and following this big event, and daily you check for little updates to see how the teams are doing, and you might watch some events "when there's nothing else on TV"... that sort of thing. I love it.

    The Vancouver games... a bunch of my friends talked about going when they first announced they'd be there (we live in Toronto, Ontario), but we never spoke of it again or made any actual plans. My best friend has a brother who lives in Vancouver and she was going to take advantage of that... but after looking up the airfare, she's decided to wait and go visit his family (including a brand new baby girl!) AFTER the Olympics end.

    It's just too expensive to fly during that time, alas.

    Like you though, I'd totally go if I did have the accomodations taken care of and wanted to visit with that friend or family member anyway. I do think at one point in my life it would be a great experience to try to see SOME Olympic event live. We shall see what happens in the future. Maybe it'll return to Canada, and be a little closer to home. haha.

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  18. I was in Salt Lake during the 2002 Olympics and actually volunteered for SLOC (Salt Lake Olympic Committee). I loved it. I went to a few events, by winning tickets, having friends give me tickets, etc. so I never actually purchased them. That being said, any hassle and commotion and inconvenience of being in an Olympic City during the Olympics was soooo worth it. (Also, it should be noted, my volunteer job was outside, at night, in one of the colder February's on record in Utah...and I still loved it.)

    I'd say GO TO LONDON! DURING THE OLYMPICS!! WHEN ELSE CAN YOU GET SUCH A DEAL!!

    Seriously, do it.

    xox

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  19. Matthew's parents live in Vancouver, as does my Dad. We've tossed around the idea of going but...really aren't planning on it.

    I also never watch them on TV. But maybe live would be better?

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  20. Would *I* go? Probably not, but the Olympics are kind of... meh... to me. This sounds like a good opportunity for you though!

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  21. In just a few months the Winter Olympics will be about 3 hours away from me. And I have no desire to go. Even Seattle will be crazy during those weeks and I have a pretty crappy attitude about it. I absolutely LOVE the Olympics and watch them morning, noon and night when they come around, but with them being so close I want to avoid it like the plague. Plus, tickets have been sold out for years already, so there is no chance I would even be able to attend.

    I have thought about attending the 2012 Olympics in London. I'd make a summer out of it by first attending Le Tour de France and then heading up to the UK for the Olympics. That would be SWEET.

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  22. I want to go SOOOO MUCH. But it's just incredible. I know people in Vancouver that are renting out their place for $20,000 for two weeks! Maybe that's just the Vancouver venue though... Rio might be super fun! (Though tickets to any good events sell out really quickly, right? Like, impossible to get? I vote just stay home and stream it live on your laptop!)

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  23. Uh, I would TOTALLY go. I LOVE THE OLYMPICS!

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  24. I'd totally go there. The whole euphoria and energy will make such good festivities. Besides, it's in London. No matter how many times you've been there already, it will be good :)

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  25. The crowds are overwhelming and totally unappealing to me. I can't say I've ever even seriously considered going but I hadn't really thought about it until now. Huh.

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  26. I have mixed feelings about the Olympics. I live in Vancouver and I'm not planning to go. I'm happy to support the athletes but living in the host city has made me cynical. Tickets to events are so high while Canadian athletes are given very little financial support. Every day in the news there is a new story about over-budget projects (and not just a little over-budget; one of the venues in Whistler was 100% over-budget) or bizarrely high contracts that have been awarded to business associates of city officials. I'm quite happy to participate in the spirit and energy of the city but I will be watching the Olympics on tv :)

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  27. I prefer to watch the Olympics on TV from the comfort of my home. I think the crowds would be too overwhelming for me especially being in a city I'm not familiar with.

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  28. The Olympics are self destructive. With the threat of global warming we cannot afford such flagrant displays of excess and overconsumption. The best way to avoid 300,000 tons of emissions is for people to simply stay at home.

    http://selfdestructivebastards.blogspot.com/2009/10/olympics-are-self-destructive.html

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  29. london and rio! i'd take any excuse to go to either place.

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  30. As a woman blogger who's interested in the Olympics, you should definitely enter for a spot on the Microsoft Office U.S. Blogging Team and win a chance to go to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Check out the details here: https://www.officewintergames.com/default.aspx?fac=office

    Make sure to spread the word to your fellow lady bloggers!

    Cheers,
    Kate
    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/officelive?ref=ts

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  31. I would TOTALLY go to the summer olympics if I had the chance! I was really hoping that Chicago would get 2016 because I would have a free place to stay, but it was not to be. :-(

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  32. I love watching certain Olympic sports on TV but I would only consider going in person if it was fairly close - like London 2012. I will almost certainly try to get tickets for some events for that because it's only a 2-hour train journey and I have lots of friends in London. I imagine the opening ceremony would be pretty cool in person.

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