Compared to the US and UK, Germans most doubtful about the power of the Olympics

Paul HiebertData Journalist
August 16, 2016, 1:35 PM GMT+0

New data from YouGov Profiles shows that, unlike the positive Brits and Americans, Germans are much less likely to be enthusiastic about the Olympic Games

One heartwarming image to emerge from the Olympic Games in Rio this summer features South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-ju taking selfies and exchanging pleasantries with North Korean gymnast Hong Un-jong. "This is why we do the Olympics," proclaims a much-shared tweet reflecting on the brief yet tender moment between two young women from states with a history of hostiliy between them. To many, the Olympic Games are a celebration of the human spirit and opportunity to enhance global unity.

New data from YouGov Profiles, however, shows that not everyone believes this with the same amount of conviction. When asked if an event like the Olympic Games is good for the international community, 72% of people from the UK and 68% of people from the US agreed. Only 52% of Germans felt the same. Looking at the same question, except with people who express little to no interest in watching the Rio Olympics, the numbers drop to 56% for the UK, 57% for the US, and 38% for Germany — well below half.

Germans are most likely to think the Olympic Games brings more financial trouble to the host city than it's worth. 70% agreed with this sentiment, compared to 55% of Americans and 48% of people from the UK. The same pattern of opinion holds true for people either very or fairly interested in watching this summer's Games: 68% for Germany, 47% for the US, and 35% for the UK. Notice that only Germans come in at over half — and well over, at that. When asked to identify reasons why they intend to watch the 2016 Summer Olympics, only 23% of Germans interested in watching the various events said to support their country and its athletes. It's a relatively small number compared to Olympic fans in the UK and US, who said they'd watch for the aforementioned patriotic reasons at rates of 51% and 50%, respectively.

Additional data from YouGov Profiles shows other widely held beliefs and attitudes about the Olympics Games — both positive and negative. When asked if some Olympic athletes will always find new ways of doping or using steroids, over 80% of all people from Germany, the UK, and the US agreed. At 39%, Americans interested in watching the Olympics were most likely to say they dreamed of competing in the Games when they were little (only 22% of Brits and 26% of Germans said the same).