Bidding For The 2024 Summer Olympics…

According to various reports, there are 4 cities that want the US Olympic Committee’s backing in an attempt to host the summer Olympics in 2024. Other reports say there are 6 cities “in the mix”. One of the cities on both lists is Washington DC – a city with which I have more than a passing familiarity. There are two major reasons why DC would be a horrendous choice:

    1. The current infrastructure is so insufficient to handle the logistics of an Olympics that I cannot come up with a figure of speech sufficiently bad to convey the message to you properly.

    2. If anyone thinks the Brazilians are a bit nonchalant about getting down to work to get things done for the 2016 Games, let me assure you that the folks who run DC and the surrounding jurisdictions taught the Brazilians everything the Brazilians know about procrastination. Let me give you a short example of now “things get done” in the DC area:

      In the mid-90s, studies and plans for an extension of the Metro to Dulles Airport began to happen.

      Construction began in 2008.

      Last week, the first HALF of the extension opened; it is just over 11 miles long. It took almost 6 years to build an 11-mile train line all above ground.

      The second half is scheduled to be finished in 2018; if it opens then, it will be the first time Metro has met a scheduled milestone.

Here is how things tend to “work” in the DC area. Imagine that the plan calls for you to run a four-minute mile. Now the execution phase of that plan would go along and no one would foresee that having you run the final quarter mile in 9 seconds makes the execution phase impossible. Sad but true… Also, please ignore the fact that the District of Columbia has far more urgent things on which to spend its money – not the least of which would be its public school system. DC would be a terrible choice…

The other cities supposedly interested are:

    Boston: They have a lot of venues already in place. I am not sure where they would find convenient real estate for an Olympic Village but I am sure the planners will come up with something there. Traffic congestion would be a significant issue for me.

    Dallas: Again, they have facilities already in place – including Cowboys’ Stadium to host the opening and closing ceremonies. Moreover, there surely are “moneyed interests” in the area to make this happen. Summer weather in Dallas can be “very interesting”…

    Los Angeles: They have just about everything they might need on hand since they hosted the games in 1984. Traffic congestion would be a significant challenge.

    San Diego: According to a report I read, San Diego would “partner” with Tijuana, Mexico if it puts forth a bid. Has anyone seen recent photos of the traffic jam at the border crossing there?

    San Francisco: Given the stadiums for baseball, football (collegiate and pro) and the arenas for basketball and hockey that are in the area, this could be a viable venue.

The USOC hopes to make its selection for the US bid by the end of 2014 and the presentation to the IOC will happen in September 2015. International “competition” for the games will come from Doha, Qatar; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Istanbul, Turkey.

Meanwhile, the NY Times reported that an IOC official who had his eye on the Brazilian preparations for the 2016 Games called them “the worst I have ever experienced.” If anyone recalls the nonsense associated with the Athens’ preparations, the Brazilians have hurdled over a very high bar indeed. One issue with the host city of Rio de Janeiro is that many of their waterways are polluted water; the reason for that is pretty basic; according to the government in Rio, only 35% of the wastewater/sewage in the city is treated meaning 65% of the sewage generated by 6.35 million people in the city proper and by about 12 million people in the “greater Rio area”. Why is this a problem?

    In the summer games, there are sports such as canoeing, rowing, sailing and the triathlon, which put athletes in or right next to “natural bodies of water”. Now that you have that list, go back and read those stats about sewage treatment in Rio…

I ran across this stat somewhere but I have lost the citation to where I found it. I will present it here and tip my hat to whomever it was that put it out there for me to find. It has to do with the value of a defensive catcher in baseball. Consider:

    Yadier Molina came to the Cardinals full-time in 2005. Since that year, here are the teams in baseball that have allowed the fewest stolen bases.

      Cards 480
      Reds 720 (50% more than the Cards)
      Twins 775 (61% more than the Cards)
      D-Backs 780 (62% more than the Cards)

Finally, I do know where this stat came from. It came from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Flashback: Clayton Kershaw is today’s most dominating pitcher, but Sandy Koufax set the standard for Dodger left-handers. From 1961 through ’66, Koufax was 129-47, and while pitching every four days, completed 54 of 84 starts in 1965 and ’66.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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Comments

  • Joe  On August 1, 2014 at 8:58 am

    The mind-boggling “blocking the plate” rule sure is neutralizing some of that value of a good defensive catcher…see Marlins v Reds last night.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Joe:

      I happened to see a AA game last week and neither catcher in the game seemed to be comfortable with where he was/where he was supposed to be whenever a runner approached from third base. The learning curve for players is going to be a steep one there.

  • Rich  On August 1, 2014 at 9:50 am

    The Cards’ stolen bases allowed stats since Molina came to the club are very impressive. I wonder if he has been leading the league in throwing runners out as well.
    Koufax was overworked, but he was up to the tasks that Walter Alston imposed on him. I think he’d have had a shot if he pitched in an era where pitch counts were used to determine how long the pitcher stayed in the game, and started every fifth day instead of very fourth day that was de rigueur in those days. And I do emphasize the regueur in his case.
    I think Koufax led the league in lowest ERA four or five times in his shortened career, which was no small task when guys like Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal were around. Kershaw would have done very well in that era.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Rich:

      I saw Koufax many times – and Gibson and Marichal more than a few times too. They were all great pitchers. I agree that Kershaw would have been successful back then just as he is now.

  • superdestroyer  On August 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Washington DC is a metropolitan area that knows how to do big events and there would be little need for construction given the facilities in both Washington and Baltimore and the surrounding area. The way to handle the traffic is to have the federal government and its contractors run on reduced staff for two weeks and have people clear out. The worst problem is that having the Olympics would hurt all of the business that cater to tourist who would avoid DC during the Olympics.

    However, in the long run, no city in the U.S. should be involved in bidding for the Olympics. The Olympics should be left to second tier countries with despotic, corrupt government that do not mind losing massive amounts of money on the Olympics.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      superdestroyer:

      We certainly agree that holding the Olympics somewhere other than in the US is a good idea. I am much less sanguine about Washington’s ability to function given an event of the magnitude – and duration – as the Olympics. Yes, Washington has managed to survive some big events (The Million Man March, Fourth of July Fireworks on the Mall; demonstrations of all kinds, inaugurations, state funerals…) However, all of those cover only a few days at most; the Olympics would take almost a month.

      Your point about the “injury” to those businesses that cater to tourists who would not come because the Olympics are here is another reason that one should always doubt the figures tossed out by proponents of things like the Olympics with regard to “economic benefits”.

  • Doug  On August 4, 2014 at 6:10 am

    We lived through the Atlanta Olympics and my first hand experience tells me the benefit of having the games is real, but not worth the effort. I have been reminded by many of my Atlanta friends that the legacy of the games is more than might be apparent from afar. A prime example is the Centennial Park area and the development that was spawned by its construction for 1996. This was a blighted area almost in downtown that is now a hub of activity for both residents and visitors.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On August 4, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Doug:

      I presume you are home from your vacation in France and that you had a wonderful time there. Good luck losing those 10 pounds you gained from the wonderful food and wine there…

      I never meant to imply that the Olympics provide zero positive impact on its venues. I do mean that the projections made by advocates are always inflated beyond any rational model and that the costs of those positive impacts are great indeed.

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