Britain’s haul: 27 gold medals and a wooden spoon

August 22, 2016

China underwhelmed in the Olympic medals table, while the tiny UK excelled. That’s a poor guide to more important competitions. Though Britain still has soft power, its value as a role model is on the wane. China no longer needs gold medals to secure its place on the podium.

from Viewsroom:

Bookstores back, Redstone out, Zika lurks

February 8, 2016

Internet-retailer Amazon embraces bricks and mortar, while the soap opera around Viacom's aged founder continues. Plus, panic over the dangerous virus is Brazil's Achilles heel.

Host Brazil may challenge for 2016 Olympics glory

December 24, 2015

The mighty U.S. will be hard to dislodge from the top spot. But a prediction based on population, GDP, the cost of Nikes and past willingness to dope suggests Brazil could break into the top five by medals. Like Team GB in 2012, that will require capitalising on home advantage.

Olympics committee gets it right with Beijing 2022

July 31, 2015

The Winter Games won’t boost China’s growth, end repression, or win the country much extra respect. It might help soft power, but then most countries already do whatever China asks. Freed from such false hopes, everyone can sit back, have fun and admire the fake snow.

Olympics feel good value, even if they aren’t

July 27, 2012

The world may gloat at London’s mishaps. And for the over-extended UK, the economic wisdom of spending $14 billion on the Games is uncertain at best. Yet British spirits are high. Olympic investment is paying dividends, even if they aren’t strictly financial.

Olympics a bad metaphor for economic rivalry

August 2, 2012

China breaks the rules, the U.S. loses its edge, Britain barely registers at all. It’s easy to see the Games as a mirror for reality. But economics is different. Co-operation is rewarded, the prizes keep growing, and there are many ways to win, provided the competitors play fair.

Japan’s Olympic boost will be mostly psychological

September 9, 2013

Choosing Tokyo to host the 2020 Games has given the country a lift. But expectations that an Olympian investment spree will end deflation are as misplaced as fears that it will trigger a debt crisis. A feel-good effect on consumption is probably the best Japan can hope for.

Welcome to Sochi, Putin’s Potemkin village

February 7, 2014

The Russian president made the Winter Olympics his personal project and wanted it to be a symbol of Russia’s power. But the games will mostly throw light on the economy’s deep problems - and the autocratic president’s unwillingness, or inability, to address them.