1992 Olympics and the Social  Term Paper

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Although there are no statistics to actually show the impact of the Games on the population, assumptions can be made, based on the potential impact the event might have had. According to analysts however, it appears that the impact the Olympics had on the job market was different from the expectations of the organizers. In this sense, "between 1987 and 1991 the number of jobs created in the construction sector were only 33.000, a figure much lower than was expected considering that three quarters of the total investment went towards the construction sector" (Games Monitor, 2007). There is no clear account on why the issue of job opportunities took such a turn especially taking into account the importance of the construction works that were undergone.

Another aspect marked the social issues concerning the Barcelona Games and their impact on the job market which is the lack of consistency for the job opportunities the Games had brought. More precisely, "in the hotel and catering trade sector only 20.000 new jobs appeared and only lasted the duration of the event, again, much less than was expected. In the other sectors, the labor impact was zero (we tend to forget that the Olympic volunteers take on a great amount of tasks that would otherwise generate jobs). During 1992, the number of jobs began to fall" (Games Monitor, 2007). Therefore, from a general perspective it can be said that the issue of the job opportunities was more or less an aspect of temporary employment, an aspect which did not contribute to the improvement in the quality of life of the population.

Despite mixed feeling concerning the impact the Games had on the city of Barcelona in terms of the social aspects, the immediate consequences of the sound investments in the region are important to mention. Indeed, the analysis of the Olympic period pointed out the fact that Barcelona went through a period of regress in terms of tourists and trade, in part due to the fact that the actual image of the city was overused during the Olympic Games. In this sense, "Barcelona experienced a reduction in visitors during the Olympic year, though there was a growth of 20% per annum in the number of visitors in each of the three years subsequent to 1992." Therefore, despite the fact that the immediate effects were lower than expected, on the long run, the Games benefited the city. At the same time, the Olympiad saved the region from experiencing at the same level the economic distress which affected the rest of Spain and other European countries. In this sense, "the Barcelona games provided an important support for the local economy through the investment of some $16.6 billion; thus providing a counterweight to the economic downturn experienced by Spain and several other European countries in the early 1990s." (Poynter, 2004)

Aside from the economic and social aspects taken into consideration so far, the Olympic Games also had a political impact. The tradition of the Games sometimes considered that in fact, during the period of the Ancient Greeks, the inventors of the Olympiads, wars were stopped in order to organize the Games. Although there are many doubts concerning the validity of this statement, the idea that the Games stand for peace and unity in an environment framed by a culture of the world is essential for the way in which the idea of the Olympic spirit is moved forward.

This image was clearly viewed at the 1992 Barcelona Games. The moment for the development of the Games was extremely important for the world as well as for Europe. In this sense, the Barcelona Games marked the first Olympiad after the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union. More precisely, it allowed all the countries in the world to take part in the event. In this sense, it was noted in relation to the Olympiad that "the 1992 Games went down as one of the most memorable Olympiads, and for once not a single nation boycotted it." (BBC, 2004) This is an important aspect of the Games particularly because the U.S. And the former USSR had been in a political confrontation for almost half of a century and in the conditions in which the U.S.S.R. boycotted the Los Angeles Olympiads. Therefore, the fact that more than one hundred nations in the world took part in the event represented a certification of the fact that the bipolar split had ended and a new road could have been built for the future.

Another sign of the impact the Games had from the political point-of-view was the fact that it marked the reconsideration of the national unity of Germany which competed as one country (BBC, 2004), thus recognizing the reunification of the country under democratic rulers. Also, South Africa which had long been the subject of public opprobrium for the politics of apartheid was again welcomed on the international scene. Therefore, it can be said that the political message the presence of such countries sent was essential for the way in which future international politics would be conducted.

Overall, it can be concluded that the 1992 Olympics hosted by the city of Barcelona represented an important event for the Catalan city. Although it did not rise up fully to the expectations of the organizers and of the world, from an economic, social, and political point-of-view they represented a success.


Barcelona: Urban Transformation and 92' Olympic Games. N.d. 18 April 2008. http://www.mt.unisi.ch/pages/barcelona.pdf

BBC. Barcelona 1992. 2004. 18 April 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics_2004/history/3055360.stm

Games Monitor. A success? The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. 2007. 18 April 2008. http://dontbackthebid.blogspot.com/2007/07/success-1992-barcelona-olympic-games.html

Poynter, Gavin. "The Economics of the Olympics Bid." The University of East London. 2004. 18 April 2008. http://www.uel.ac.uk/risingeast/archive01/features/economicsoftheolympicsbid.htm

The Olympic Games and the Meaning of World Culture. n.d. 18 April 2008. http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/9780631226772/lechner%20sample%20chapter.pdf

Yang, Shuang. "Beijing 2008: The Economic Impact of the Olympics." Business Today Online Journal. Wednesday, 02 April 2008. 18 April 2008. http://www.businesstoday.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=478

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