The organizers of the 2012 London Olympics have repeatedly asserted the value of the Games in the shape of wider involvement in sport, a lasting legacy of sporting facilities, and increased tourism. But experience from previous Games suggest differently.

Not one recent Olympic host nation can point to an increase in sport participation as a result of the Olympics. Many of the stadiums built for the Greek Games are now expensive-to-maintain wrecks. As for tourism, the Olympics generally leads to a decrease in visitor spending, not an increase, as the travel industry has pointed out.

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