Thursday, February 21, 2013

Houston Should just tell the USOC no and be done with it

It's that time again, time for the USOC to go out begging cities to raise Millions of dollars in attempts to bring home the Games.  This is sure to cause the Apple Dumpling Gang to get the vapors, and I'm sure that Houston's New Urbanist denizens will be awash with joy over the prospect of an East End revitalization of the type London experienced with the construction of the athlete's village and all.  Plus, nothing says "world class" like bringing the world to Houston to participate in the bi-annual "will they or won't they test positive for PED's" fest that has become the Olympic Games.

In the linked article it stated that New York and Chicago each spent an estimated $10 Million on their prior bids alone, that figure doesn't account for the massive amount of infrastructure spending Houston would need to complete in order actually put the games on.  I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong.  No we don't have a stadium in place that can handle track n' field.  If you read in the comments a smart reader rightly points out that the footprint of Reliant is not near wide enough.  Therefore an entirely new stadium will have to be built that will be instantly obsolete because there is no professional team that could use it.  Yes, there's the Alkek Velodrome, and that would work fine, but you can't exactly white-water down a bayou so an artificial course would have to be constructed, and there's no hill to build it on unless you want to shut down the Galveston Causeway and have them shoot down that.

Houston has no Olympic-quality swimming venue, no Olympic-quality tennis venue and do you really want to see Olympic wrestling at Hofheinz?  Now granted, we could probably host the shooting events in a decent venue, as long as we allow the public to participate.  More importantly, where are we going to hold Badminten?  Didn't think of that did you? I haven't even gotten to field hockey and hand ball yet, or water polo even.

Fortunately, there are several events, given their interest level in America, that you can pretty much shoe-horn in anywhere expecting attendance levels to be minimal.  Air Pistol could probably be held in the gym of a local Jr. High and, given the recent turn of bad press of late, weightlifting could probably be held at a local VA club.

The bigger problem is the infrastructure, and holding an Olympic Games in Houston would require quite a bit of it. I'm not sure who would get duped into being the one to tell Hakeem Olajuwon that all his valuable parking lots need to be seized so Jacques Rogge can have his palace built for him but that couldn't be a fun job. And sorry all you small businesses who bought into the East End hype, you're out so McDonald's can build the athlete's food court. Then there's the problem of transportation.  What if, as has been rumored, Metro decides to add advertisements to their buses and the advertisers aren't Olympic sponsors?  Uh Oh.

So, to recap...The USOC is asking Houston to spend Millions of dollars to bid for an event that's going to cost Billions, is going to require the building on infrastructure and stadiums that no one wants or particularly needs for an athletic event that is going to see around half of its results vacated due to the use of performance enhancing drugs.

The good news is, as Mitt Romney demonstrated, there's no longer a political benefit for those attached to these Games so I'd guess the USOC now has a better than 50% chance of being ignored.  Rahm Emmanuel sees that way at least.

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