For 17 days every four years the Summer Olympics attract the world's attention and the host city gets immense media coverage. Yet many argue that the huge cost of hosting the Olympic games means that cities are left with crippling bills and empty stadiam once those 17 days are over. Montreal, the host in 1976, is still paying off the cost of staging the games today and the Athens Olympics of 2004 ran billions of euros over the original budget - at state expense. The scandal surrounding the bidding process for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games revealed that 13 of the 124 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who were tasked with deciding who should be awarded the games were 'bought' with gifts and bribes. Since then the IOC has tightened up its regulations but rumours of corruption amongst some members remain and were revealed by a BBC sting operation in 2004. Whilst proponents of hosting the games generally accept that they will inevitably cost significant amounts of money, they argue that the 'feel good factor' and longer term benefits justify this outlay.
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