Weeks after it ended, the millstone that is the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) continues to haunt the Singapore government. Questions from Singaporeans about the cost of the YOG which ballooned from the estimated $104 million to $387 million just refused to go away.
Seeking to douse the flames this time was Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Vivian Balakrishnan. He has been in the firing line for the Games since day 1 and now says, “"We were plain wrong."
Mr. Balakrishnan said in comments published by local media that the government had underestimated the requirements and cost of the YOG. Even admitting that mistakes were made however, the minister still insisted that Singapore benefited from the 12 day event as it showcased Singapore’s ability to host big events.
I applauded Mr. Balakrishnan for taking some responsibility for the YOG as mistakes were made but frankly I doubt that the benefits of the YOG are worth $387 million. Like most Singaporeans, I just don’t feel that the YOG is worth that much money! On average, Singapore spent over $32 million a day on the YOG. In a country that steadfastly refused to have a minimum wage, we spent $32 million a day on an event that did not bring in any tangible benefits.
Any “long-term” benefits resulting from the YOG are questionable at best, so despite Mr. Balakrishnan’s best efforts, nothing has changed. Singaporeans are still harping on the YOG.