Tulsa 2024 Olympics effort makes the New York Times

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A story about Tulsan Neil Mavis's ambition to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Tulsa made the front page of the Monday, July 1, 2013, New York Times.

Mavis was the Libertarian nominee for the 2nd Congressional District in 2000 and was the only independent candidate in the 2002 1st Congressional District special election. (Mavis was still a Libertarian, but the party had lost its ballot access in Oklahoma because of its poor showing in the 2000 presidential election in the state, so Mavis could only be listed as independent.) In the fall of 2002, Mavis was the Republican nominee for House District 66.

I applaud Mavis's dream of bringing the Olympics to Tulsa without spending tax dollars, although I have my doubts about the feasibility of the plan, or even the desirability of hosting the Olympics. Olympic games tend to leave behind facilities that have no further use after the torch is snuffed. What would Tulsa do with an 80,000 seat stadium after the games are over?

Some of you may be old enough to remember when Colorado voters defeated a bond issue to support the 1976 Winter Olympics, which had been awarded to Denver. Much of the opposition came from residents and conservationists who didn't want the impact of the Olympics on their beloved mountains. The Olympics' backup plan was Innsbruck, Austria, which had hosted the games just 12 years earlier.

Reporter Mary Pilon tries to depict the challenge before Tulsa numerically, but she focuses on City of Tulsa numbers, when Green Country or statewide Oklahoma numbers would be more appropriate. Mavis is right to point out that the Atlanta games extended across Georgia -- sailing was held 200 miles away at Savannah, football (soccer) matches were held all over the South and as far north as RFK stadium, and slalom canoeing was held up in Tennessee's Smoky Mountains. But most of the events were held in Metro Atlanta.

And maybe, in a time of austerity around the world, the International Olympic Committee would consider an Olympiad with fewer live spectators and smaller venues. The Olympic host city simply provides the sound stage for a two-week television spectacular. The people in the stands are incidental.

I had to laugh at Pilon's suggestion that Tulsa has become a sports town. The minor league baseball team does draw pretty well, better most nights than the "major league" WNBA Tulsa Shock.

UPDATE: Dewey Bartlett Jr and the Tulsa Sports Commission (a branch of the Metropolitan Tulsa Metro Regional Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday, a day after this article appeared in the New York Times, that Tulsa is not competing for the 2024 Olympics. Candidate committees must have the support of the host city's local government, and Mavis had that official designation from Bartlett Jr, even though he wasn't asking for government support to make this happen. They didn't even invite Mavis to the press conference for the announcement. If you're a dreamer, but you're not tight with the Chamber/Bartlett Jr/Taylor crowd, under the bus you go. The only pie-covered face belongs to Bartlett Jr, who made a commitment (see memo below) and backed down from it. Question for the reader: Who yanked Bartlett Jr's chain to back him off his support for the Tulsa 2024 effort?

MORE:

May 16, 2013, memo from Bartlett Jr designating Neil Mavis as City of Tulsa's representative and authorizing official city business cards:

Dear Mr. Mavis:

On March 19,2013, pursuant to my authority as Mayor, I designated both you and Clay Bird to the United States Olympic Committee ("USOC") as my authorized representatives, and also, designated you as my primary point of contact with the USOC to advance the City of Tulsa's interest in bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. On April 3, 2013, the USOC's Chief Executive Officer acknowledged such designation by informing me that the USOC would "follow-up accordingly with Mr. Mavis on additional information regarding the scope, concept and TOC (International Olympic Committee) technical requirements."

By this letter, I am further designating both you and Clay Bird as the City's ad hoc "2024
Summer Games Exploratory Committee," the membership of which may be expanded in the future, as necessary. Solely with respect to your efforts in advancing the City's interest in 2024 Summer Games bid, you are hereby authorized to utilize the Corporate Seal of the City of Tulsa embossed upon a business card, containing only the language and information, as follows:

Neil Mavis
Office of the Mayor
City of Tulsa Summer Games Exploratory Committee
175 East 2nd Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
Phone: 918-645-1645
Email: neilmavis@gmail.com

On behalf of the City, I appreciate your efforts to obtain the 2024 Summer Games aod wish you the best of luck regarding your continuing endeavor in this regard.

Best regards,

[signed]
Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr.
Mayor

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 2, 2013 12:19 AM.

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