Last month, the United States Olympic Committee sent letters to the mayors of 35 cities to see if they were interested in pursuing an Olympics bid. Those chosen included the nation's 25 largest cities, of which Detroit is one. In a statement, Mayor Dave Bing responded to the USOC query with a polite but resounding no, citing the large costs involved.
"With our rich history of hosting major events and Detroit’s prime location on an international border, we recognize that this makes Detroit an appealing candidate to potentially host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics," he said. "Unfortunately, due to the timing and uncertainty of Detroit’s long-term financial stability, we must respectfully decline to participate.”
Surely some shot put, gymnastics and swimming fans will be disappointed in Bing's choice -- and particularly one group that has been using Facebook to rally support for an Olympics bid since last summer.
But the requirements for host cities, including a $10 million upfront bid processing payment, $3 billion operating budget commitment, construction of an Olympic Village for 16,500 athletes and, perhaps the biggest hurdle, a workable transportation system, make it hard to imagine Detroit being in shape to host the Olympics in a mere 11 years.
It's not clear that USOC had real hopes for Detroit's potential. According to The New York Times, most of the wide range of cities that were selected are likely already "virtually disqualified." Last summer, USOC past president Bill Martin told WXYZ it would be a "huge leap" for Detroit to host the Olympics.
At least the city had the opportunity to be the snubber, for once. In the past, Detroit's bids to host the Olympics have been rejected seven times.
There is one small chance Detroit hasn't heard the last of this Olympics talk. The group that has attempted to rally support for the 2024 games considered pitching the plan to the individual selected to be Detroit's emergency financial manager. And they have their fingers crossed for another long shot -- that Gov. Rick Snyder picks former presidential candidate Mitt Romney to run the show in Detroit. After all, he ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Romney in charge of Detroit (where he won 2 percent of the vote in November) and planning the city's Olympics? That's even less likely than these tongue-in-cheek suggestions for locations around town for Olympic events.
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