As an economist, she advises politicians at the federal level and teaches economics at Friedrich Alexander University. She spends her free time actively engaged in recreational sports and is an enthusiastic follower of sporting events: We spoke with the economist to find out how the Olympic and Paralympic Games would impact the German economy.
Ms. Grimm, in addition to your work as an economist, your professorship at Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, and the many other positions you hold, you are the coach of a youth football team. What do sports mean to you personally?
Sports have always played a central role in my life. I play sports nearly every day, I was actively engaged in recreational sports for a long time, and I follow sporting events with a great deal of gusto. Sports have the power to bring people together – from every imaginable background – and that’s what I love most about them. Major sporting events that take place in one’s own country always create a particularly positive and enjoyable atmosphere.
For the 2024 Games in Paris, the University of Limoges expects an economic impact of 10.7 billion euros. More than 250,000 jobs are expected to be created in the region surrounding the French capital as a result of the Games. What is your assessment of those figures?
The economy will certainly be stimulated as a result of the Games. The effect on the image of the country will also be significant. The countries in which the Olympic Games are hosted always attract a great deal of global interest and attention. Such events give people the chance to learn about different cultures, places, and people – both directly and indirectly. In a world dominated by the digital age, in which distances are growing shorter and shorter by the day and international relations are becoming increasingly important, the Games provide a major opportunity.
To what extent could hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Germany have an impact on the national economy?
At present, that’s quite difficult to estimate, but, as is the case in France, the preparation for and the staging of the Games would likely generate a substantial amount of added value and a significant number of jobs. Hotels and restaurants would profit from the large number of people attending the Games. The absolute priority would be ensuring that people from all over the world are left with a positive impression of both Germany as well as our values. Sports can definitely play a unifying role in that respect.
The hotel and restaurant sectors are often the first that come to mind, as they benefit greatly during the Games. What other sectors stand to profit when major events are held in one’s home country?
Well, to a large extent, that depends on the concept. If, for example, sustainability is given high priority, the existing sports facilities might be significantly upgraded. That, of course, can also be quite inspiring. In the past, the Games were often used as opportunities to develop infrastructure. These days, the emphasis is on using existing facilities and incorporating them into good infrastructure. Not only is that something that could prove useful in the implementation of the Games, but it would also benefit both the country and its people.
What are your personal thoughts about the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris? How will you be following the Games?
That fact that I’ll be watching the Games goes without saying. I’ll watch some of the events with my family or friends, and I’ll follow others via the live ticker. We often spend time in France during the summer, so we might even watch a few events live – at the respective venues.
Additional economy-related information can be found here. A talk on the issue of economic sustainability is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 5 September: “YOUR JOB. YOUR INVESTMENT. YOUR GAMES.”