Okay, okay, I confess: “saved the Olympics” is a bit melodramatic. But according to the Malta Independent, “Peter Ueberroth, who was in charge of the [1984 Los Angeles Olympic] Games, developed a new way of thinking about financing them and for the first time in history, the Games were profitable. Asked how he came up with these ideas, he attributed the results to Edward de Bono’s philosophy of lateral thinking.”
Is there any truth to this story? I have no idea. But if true, it would be a fantastic success story. I’m very curious, so I asked the Times to share their source material.
The larger question is whether hosting an Olympic Games is in fact a profitable endeavor. In 2009, the New York Times asked several economists to answer his question. Their panelists largely agreed that, with few exceptions, the Olympic Games is a money-losing venture for the host city. It makes you wonder why more cities don’t follow Los Angeles’ lead and apply some Lateral Thinking.