Berlin’s Failed Bid to Host the 2000 Summer Olympic Games: Urban Development and the Improvement of Sports Facilities


Recently scholars have become interested in how the Olympic Games can create a positive legacy for the cities that host them. These benefits often include state‐of‐the‐art sports facilities, improved transportation infrastructure and beautification projects, such as the creation of parks. Stimulated by the Olympic Games, cities may embark on large‐scale urban development projects that may otherwise not be carried out or would be carried out on a much more limited scale. As cities now compete for hosting the Olympic Games, they often try to gain an advantage over other candidate cities by starting some of the projects before submitting their bid documents. Therefore, even an unsuccessful bid may arguably be beneficial. In this article, I describe Berlin’s planning goals and overall concept for the 2000 Summer Olympics, as well as the individual projects that were planned. I then discuss why some of these projects have been realized despite the failed bid, while others were abandoned. I argue that the bid provided a stimulus for the improvement of some sports facilities in Berlin because these projects complemented wider planning goals, while other projects were eventually carried out due to other landmark events, such as the move of the federal government to the city.