No sign that Vancouver’s 2010 Games sustainability ethic reached Sochi or Pyeongchang

News that South Korea’s Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games will ring up a numbing $8.4 billion construction bill suggests that Vancouver’s efforts to embed environmental sustainability in the Games was a failure.

During the bid preparation phase in 2002, Vancouver made a virtue out of our efforts to use existing facilities and reduce environmental impacts. International Olympic Committee experts demanded the Games be “greened up” and the Vancouver Bid Committee did everything it could to comply. The result: Vancouver narrowly edged out Pyeongchang to host the 2010 Games.

The London Games, to be held next year, did much to build on the Vancouver philosophy, but there was little of the recycling spirit obvious in Russia’s successful Sochi 2014 bid, which is carving an entirely new resort out of the landscape.

Now, here comes Pyeongchang, using the Olympics as economic stimulus for the construction sector. Sure, there’s a high speed rail line thrown in, but $1.4 billion is earmarked for new venues, villages and much more. Bulldozer drivers, start your engines!