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

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