into bankrolling the Olympics and may be indirectly subsidizing foreign athletes while U.S. athletes struggle to make ends meet, a new study concludes.
U.S. television networks pay too much for Olympic broadcast rights and are forced to ply viewers with hours upon hours of commercials, according to a Brookings Institution study titled, ``Fool's Gold: How America Pays to Lose in the Olympics.''
``In sum, the funding setup for the Olympics is a travesty,'' writes Dr. Robert Z. Lawrence, the Brookings senior economist who authored the study with assistant Jeffrey D. Pellegrom.
ABC paid $309 million in 1988 for the U.S. rights to the Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta - 95.1 percent of the money paid for worldwide TV rights.
How much did, say, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe combined pay?
Try $1.2 million.
The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe pay so little that their share of the U.S. network money, which is divvied up by …