Athens will never be the permanent home of the Olympic Games. It’s a nice idea, rooted in nostalgia and respect for Greece as the ancient birthplace of the games. It’s also a stab at a solution to the problems that plague the Olympics, born out of an urgent sense of frustration with the status quo—and maybe a (misguided) attempt to heel the Greek economy. Bring the games home to Athens, critics say, and stop imposing these unreal costs on city after city.
Building temporary venues for a sporting mega-event that demands unrivaled extravagance of its hosts is a bad bet for most any city. Finding a fixed port-of-call for the Olympics is an alternative vision that has a lot of admirers. But Athens would never be chosen as that permanent host. It would be Beijing.