Olympic Games:

Federal Government Provides Significant Funding and Support

GGD-00-183: Published: Sep 8, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2000.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Mark L. Goldstein
(202) 512-3000
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on government funding and support for the Olympic Games, focusing on: (1) the amount of federal funding and support provided to the 1984 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and planned for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and the types of projects and activities that were funded and supported; (2) the federal policies, legislative authorizations, and agency controls in place for providing the federal funds and support to the Olympic Games; and (3) whether federal funding for certain Olympic-related projects was provided in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

GAO noted that: (1) the federal government provides significant funding and support for the Olympic Games when they are held in the United States; (2) at least 24 federal agencies reported providing or planning to provide a combined total of almost $2 billion, in 1999 dollars, for Olympic-related projects and activities for the 1984 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games; (3) of the almost $2 billion of funding and support from the federal government, about $513 million was provided or planned to be provided for projects or activities related to planning and staging the Olympic Games; (4) the remaining $1.4 billion has been provided or planned to be provided for infrastructure projects, such as highway, transit, and capital improvements, that are related to preparing the cities of Atlanta and Salt Lake City to host the Olympic Games; (5) these projects will also benefit the host city and state after the Games are held; (6) according to federal officials, most of these funds would have been awarded to these cities or states even if they had not hosted the Olympic Games, although the funds could have been provided later if the Games were not held; (7) however, no governmentwide law or policy exists that defines the federal government's overall role in funding and supporting the Olympic Games when hosted in the United States, nor is there a single federal agency that has the responsibility to oversee and monitor the federal funding and support provided for the Olympic Games; (8) federal agencies have helped and continue to help fund and support various aspects of the Olympic Games, in response to requests for federal assistance from state and local governments and Olympic organizing committees; (9) Olympic-related expenditures by federal agencies were made using Congressionally designated funds or by using the agencies' normal funding procedures; (10) in some cases it was difficult to determine the amount of federal funding and support because federal agencies generally did not track or report their funding and support for the Olympic Games, except when they were specifically requested to do so by the Office of Management and Budget; and (11) federal funding and support were used in accordance with statutory authority and applicable requirements for three of the five 1996 Summer Olympic Games projects that GAO reviewed.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: As of September 2004, Congress has not taken any actions to address this matter.

    Matter: Congress may want to consider whether a governmentwide policy on the overall role of the federal government with respect to funding and supporting U.S.-hosted Olympic Games is warranted. If Congress decides that a governmentwide policy is warranted, it may want to enact legislation that sets forth the appropriate role of the federal government in terms of funding and supporting the Olympic Games when held in the United States. Possible areas that Congress may want to consider for specifying a federal role or policy include: (1) selection of a bid city; (2) the amount and type of federal funding and support to be provided; (3) information desired before and after funding and support are approved; and (4) the federal government oversight to be exercised and by whom.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, OMB included a table in the President's 2002 budget, that for the first time listed all planned and actual federal funding and support for the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Recommendation: To enable Congress, the executive branch, and other interested parties to identify and monitor the total amount and type of federal funding support planned for and provided to the Olympic Games when they are held in the United States, the Director, Office of Management and Budget should track and periodically report to Congress each federal agencies' planned and actual funding and support of the 2000 Olympic Games hosted in the United States, beginning when a U.S. city is awarded the right to host the Games through the completion of the Games.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, OMB provided guidance to federal agencies on how they should compile and report information on federal funding and support of the Olympic Games. This information was used to prepare a table in the President's 2002 budget, that for the first time listed all planned and actual federal funding and support for the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Recommendation: To enable Congress, the executive branch Office of Management and Budget and other interested parties to identify and monitor the total amount and type of federal funding support planned for and provided to the Olympic Games when they are held in the United States, the Director, Office of Management and Budget, should provide guidance to agencies identifying how data on funding and support of Olympic Games should be compiled to ensure consistent and complete reporting and request all federal entities to provide information, including those that do not normally report data to the Office of Management and Budget.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) developed a memorandum of understanding with the Salt Lake Olympic Committee that provides guidance on how VA funds will be used, and the conditions under which monies will be released, to non-federal entities. A copy of the memorandum of understanding will be shared with appropriate members of Congress.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, General Services Administration, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the appropriate officials at their respective agencies to ensure that federal funds for the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in the United States are used for the appropriate purposes in accordance with underlying appropriations and other statutes and all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and agreements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: As of September 2001, GSA has not taken any action to address this recommendation. In written comments on the draft report, GSA requested that the recommendation be removed from the final report because it believed that GAO misinterpreted the information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, General Services Administration, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the appropriate officials at their respective agencies to ensure that federal funds for the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in the United States are used for the appropriate purposes in accordance with underlying appropriations and other statutes and all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and agreements.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 28, 2016

Sep 27, 2016

Sep 26, 2016

Sep 23, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Aug 30, 2016

Aug 11, 2016

Jul 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here