Cities That Have Hosted Multiple Summer Olympic Games

The Olympic Stadium in London, built for the 2012 Summer Games.
The Olympic Stadium in London, built for the 2012 Summer Games.

The Summer Olympic Games is a multiple sports event held at a four-year interval in different countries across the world and their origin dates back to ancient Greece. The first Games in the modern era were officiated by the King of Greece in 1896 and were marred by inefficiencies but have improved over the years. Cities interested in hosting the Summer Olympics are required to bid. The International Olympic Committee evaluates the proposals through a rigorous process. Some cities have however hosted the Games multiple times, and they are London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Paris, and Athens.

London Has Hosted the Most Summer Olympic Games

London, the capital of the United Kingdom, has hosted three Summer Olympic Games, doing so in 1908, 1948, and 2012. The games in 1908 were to be in Rome, but Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906 destroying the city of Naples. Rome diverted its funds to reconstruction and London was selected. London constructed the White City Stadium with a capacity 66,000 people. These Games were marred with controversies, but they set a significant precedent for the present day such as the standard marathon distance of 42 kilometers (26 miles).

The Olympic Games experienced a hiatus in the early 1940s because of WWII. The post-war era had left the world in financial ruin, and the games were a rather open affair. Only the first indoor pool was built and Wembley Stadium, which was in relatively good condition after the war was used. The women boarded at dormitories in Southlands College while the men stayed at an army camp in Uxbridge. Despite their austerity, these games were considered successful.

London hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the third time in 2012. These games were colorful and were held in spectacular sporting facilities located in the Olympic park. London addressed the transportation issue through a series of footbridges and walkways so that spectators easily traveled to and from the venues. The Olympic Village was situated near the Olympic Park and enhanced the experience for the athletes.


Tokyo, Japan was the first city in Asia to host the Olympics in 1964. Japan embarked on an ambitious economic plan and built and renovated venues. Expressways and bullet trains were also constructed during this time. Japan improved its athletics programs cultivating a sporting culture even after the Games. The man who lit the Olympic was called Yoshinori Sakai and was born on the day the atomic bomb in Hiroshima was dropped. He symbolized Japan’s resolve to move on after the war. Japan will host the Summer Olympics again in 2020 although there were fears of bribery allegations when it emerged it had won the bid.

Los Angeles

The 1932 Summer Olympic Games were in Los Angeles between July 30 and August 14. It was the only city that had to host the Games due to the Great Depression. Many nations did not turn up for the event. Most of the sports took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics Games again in 1984 by default after the only other interested city, Tehran, withdrew its bid. Los Angeles used existing facilities to reduce the budget and only built a swim stadium and a velodrome funded privately by the corporate. The Games realized a profit of a staggering $223 million which set a model for other countries. Despite a boycott by the Soviet Union, the Games set a record of 140 participating nations and sometimes regarded as the most successful Summer Olympic Games of all time


The Summer Olympic Games of 1900 were held in Paris, France between May 14 and October 28 with no opening or closing ceremonies. Women athletes participated for the first time. The Games were under-advertised and recorded a dismal attendance. Most winners were given trophies in place of medals.

Paris hosted the Games in 1924 again and the Games consisted of 131 events across 20 sports. Paris built the first Olympic Village. During this time, Sport had become increasingly popular and attracted a lot of enthusiasts. The Olympic Stadium had the capacity of 60,000 people, but the Games recorded an enormous economic loss for Paris.


The Summer Olympic Games of 1896 in Athens, Greece are dubbed the first ever modern Olympics. Only 14 countries attended. The event held at the Panathenaic Stadium, the only Olympic stadium of the 1800s. It had been constructed in 330 BC but rehabilitated for the Games. The Summer Olympic Games of 2004 were in Athens again with the motto “Welcome Home". Athens embarked on improving its infrastructure for the games by expanding its airport, improving the roads, building venues, and expanding the metro system. The transport system during the Games was mostly efficient. The effort to improve infrastructure was seen as ambitious when it delayed completion of the facilities but the Games finally proved to be a big success.

Considerations for Cities Hosting Summer Olympic Venues Today

The Summer Olympic Games have come a long way through the years, and will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. The city embarked on building new venues and improving the transportation systems, but it has not been a smooth process. The Brazilian government has had to provide a federal bailout of funds to ensure the venues are completed on time. There are rising concerns from the international community on security, political environment, and health issues. The Zika virus especially has led to some withdrawals from athletes. Doping allegations continue to shadow the Games, and some athletes banned altogether. Despite these issues, the government has offered assurances that the Games will go on as planned.

Cities That Hosted Multiple Summer Olympic Games

RankCityCountrySummer Olypmics Hosted At The City
1London United Kingdom3 (1908, 1948, 2012)
2Tokyo Japan2 (1964, 2020)
3Los Angeles United States2 (1932, 1984)
4Paris France2 (1900, 1924)
5Athens Greece2 (1896, 2004)

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