The Atlantic

Ban the Olympics

They encourage profligate spending and help dictators burnish their prestige. Who needs them?
Source: Richard Heathcote / Getty

Editor’s Note: Read all of The Atlantic’s Winter Olympics coverage.

Other than fuel corruption, make countries spend pointlessly and profligately, inflame nationalist sentiment, act as onanistic stand-ins for geopolitical tensions, and cloak authoritarian leaders in legitimacy, what have the Olympics ever done for us?

It is my real and very honest question every two years: What are the Olympics good for? Why do we continue to have them? Certainly for the athletes participating they can represent the pinnacle of a career worth of hard work; maybe even a life’s ambition realized. But for the rest of us, what is the point? Aside from the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPsychology
The Startling Rise of Choking During Sex
There are a lot of emotions commonly associated with sex: love, happiness, excitement, maybe even relaxation. But for many women, one sexual feeling that comes to mind is a darker one: fear. In a recent study, Debby Herbenick, a professor and sex res
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Trump and Kim’s Interactions Aren’t Transactional Anymore
Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang entail the good, the bad, and the ugly of any relationship.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Amazon Ring Will Survive the Anti-surveillance Backlash
People are far more comfortable with surveillance when they think they’re the only ones watching.