Beijing, then Vancouver, then London: we’re in the middle of this three-Olympiad stretch right now (show of hands: who was actively aware of the fact that the Winter Olympics are but six months away? Liars, all of you). Those are some pretty high-profile cities, arguably the most urbane in their country and certainly the type of city where you want to send people from all different nations.
Less desirable as a destination, however, would be Tulsa. The metropolitan area, which is A) the 55th biggest in the United States and B) right smack dab in the middle of the Southern Plains, where animals go to die, is putting forth a proposal to host the Olympics in 2020. Because why settle for Buenos Aires when you can have Tulsa?
The TULSA WORLD has the story of the, ahem, “ambitious” committee:
“A lot of you are probably thinking what I thought the first time I heard this, ‘Tulsa? Olympics? Are you out of your mind?’?” said committee member Michael Jones, an attorney.
“That’s exactly what everyone said about Atlanta when they started proposing the same thing,” he said.
The committee said it would raise private funds to conduct a campaign — Atlanta spent about $7 million 20 years ago — but it would need the mayor and council’s approval to apply to be a host city.
Such a campaign would focus on the Tulsa area’s American Indian heritage and the fact that the state has produced numerous Olympians, from Jim Thorpe to Shannon Miller, and many more.
Of course, Chicago is a favorite to host the 2016 Olympics, and if that goes through then Tulsa might as well not bother even applying - putting two Olympiads in the same country within four years just isn’t the way the IOC does things.
There is a larger issue of, well, why? $7 million is pennies compared to the cost of infrastructure necessary to host an Olympics (and wait a second, what in the hell does a campaign need $7 million for? How many millions of packets do they need Kinko’s to make, anyway?). Worse yet, when the Olympics are gone, if Beijing is any indication, so do the benefits of hosting them:
A year after the Beijing Olympics, reminders of the Games’ physical impact are visible throughout the capital, but so are signs of the many ways in which the event could not change China.
“Apart from infrastructure, some of which is already showing exceptional wear, the legacy of these Games is that there is no legacy,” said Russell Leigh Moses, a Beijing-based scholar on contemporary China.
“The Olympics were a delightful event with no direct, meaningful impact on altering the way China is run or where it might be heading.”
Granted, it’s not like we’re all waiting angrily for Tulsa to release its political prisoners or anything - Oklahoma has many things, but fortunately, a Communist ruling party is not one of them - but considering the unholy amount of money needed to construct that Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, one that now stands empty and in disrepair after maintenance proved too costly, the benefits of hosting the Olympics may be quickly outweighed by the initial and permanent costs.
Plus there’s no telling what kind of STDs the athletes might unleash on your helpless population. You go forward at your own peril, Tulsa.