Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Olympic Games That Nearly Bankrupted Their Host Countries


9
1924 Paris Summer Olympics
Scottish athlete Eric Liddell won the 400 meter race at the 1924 Olympics. Getty Images
Scottish athlete Eric Liddell won the 400 meter race at the 1924 Olympics. Getty Images

After what could be deemed several decades of false starts -- few participating countries, thin crowds and nebulous accounting figures -- the Olympics Games finally demonstrated a strong showing in 1924. Host city Paris, France, welcomed 44 participating nations to the global competition and spectators flocked to the event, averaging about 60,000 each day [source: Zarnowski].

Yet even as the response to the 1924 Olympic Games appeared full of promise, there were financial warning signs. Preparation costs were so high that local insurance companies offered policies against the estimated total receipts, of up to 10 million francs [source: Zarnowski].

Despite several highlights (Eric Liddell won the 400 meter race, later depicted in the film "Chariots of Fire"), the games were a financial flop. At the close, the 1924 Olympics garnered 5,496,610 francs -- only about half the revenue that had been expected [source: Zarnowski].