Olympics in D.C.? No Thanks.
— Washington DC 2024 (@DC2024) August 27, 2013
A bad idea that was first proposed a decade ago and threatened to return last summer during the quadrennial frenzy caused by watching too much tape-delayed sports and soft-focus feature packages on NBC returned today: Organizers officially launched an exploratory committee designed to inflict the 2024 Summer Olympics on the District.
"We are the only major capital city in the world not to have hosted the games yet," Bob Sweeney, president of DC 2024, told the Associated Press. Sweeney hopes to raise between $3 million and $5 million by the end of next year to support the bid. That would actually be a bargain: The committee that tried, and failed, to get the 2012 Olympics here spent $10 million studying and promoting the idea before U.S. Olympic honchos killed it in 2002. Actually putting the Olympics on would cost $6 billion, Sweeney estimates. That would also be a bargain: Last summer's London extravaganza cost $14 billion.
All that money, spent on behalf of a secretive organization that answers only to its corporate sponsors, not to citizens of any nation, is the main reason to oppose bringing the Olympics to town. There are others, of course, like the fact that Olympic committees love to go on massive orgies of "redevelopment" in preparation for the Games, which generally tend to result in poor people's houses being destroyed. Or the disruptions to traffic and daily life that the influx of athletes, media, and fans bring. That last one, though, is supposed to be a selling point: Organizers say D.C. already has stifling security everywhere, so the Olympics would fit right in.
Fortunately, it's not a done deal yet, the AP reports:
Los Angeles, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, Philadelphia and Tulsa, Okla., have announced their interest. San Diego wants to host a cross-border Olympics with Mexican neighbor Tijuana. Other potential 2024 contenders from around the world include Paris; Rome; Doha, Qatar; and a city in South Africa.
Let's hope one of those other cities sinks more time, energy, and money into winning the Olympic committee over. We promise to watch on TV.