\" \" A general view of the closing ceremony during the Olympic Games in Albertville, France in 1992, one of the many Olympics that nearly bankrupted their hosts. Chris Cole/Getty ImagesThe Olympic Games not only bring together elite athletes to compete on a global stage; they also give host nations a way to showcase their countries to the world. Cities compete to convince -- first their own countries, then the International Olympic Committee -- that they are the right venue: Safe, with convenient transportation, plus efficient and elaborate infrastructure. Chicago, for example, spent an estimated $100 million in its bid to host the 2016 summer games -- and lost [source: Zimbalist]. An Oxford University study examining the Olympic Games from 1962 to 2012 discovered host cities experience, on average, a 179 percent cost overrun during the preparation phase [source: Black].