The Olympics are a special time when people from all around the world fly to a city that has massively built up its infrastructure to handle this bubble of visitors. It is a time when gigantic buildings that will rarely be used again are built (sometimes in areas that require knocking down old neighborhoods). It is a time where energy use spikes around the world as billions of people turn on the TV.
Don't forget the fireworks and other wasteful spectacles at the opening ceremonies.
And I love it.
I know I am an advocate of efficiency and reducing energy consumption, but I am not a hair-shirt wearing self-denier. Life should be enjoyed, and there are fewer things more fun than the Olympics (the opening ceremony was AMAZING). I think it is fine for the nations of the world to get together once every few years, bond over the accomplishments of our species and celebrate it in an extravagant manner.
The Olympics bring people from around the world together in a moment of international brotherhood and that is worth a little waste. After all, when we solve our energy crisis, we will still have international tension. So, while the green movement is a step towards solving our most immediate problem, the energy and climate crisis, the Olympics are a step towards solving our most profound problem, learning to live harmoniously with our neighbors. Both issues must be solved, but the solution to one does not have to come at the detriment of the other.