A scene from the Opening Ceremonies of the 23rd Summer Olympics at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on July 28th, 1984. Note the newly-lit torch on top of the Peristyle. Photo courtesy of experiencingla.com
As the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics are imminent, the problems and issues that have been dogging the host city, Rio De Janeiro, have been both well-documented and no secret.
I saw a report on HBO’s series Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel that blew the lid off the International Olympic Committee with regards to the extreme corruption plaguing that organization, what with taking money from cities and its members living like Bill Gates while the cities that have hosted recent Games have experienced multiple problems.
As for Rio…
If there’s another major city that has screwed up hosting a major international sports events more than that Brazilian metropolis and is less worthy of hosting an Olympics, I’d like to know what that city is.
How else can I put it when you have athletes opting to not go to Rio because of the concern over getting the Zika virus from local mosquitoes,
Body parts washing up on the shore of the iconic Ipanema Beach, where the beach volleyball events are scheduled to take place,
Trash and sewage in the waters where sailing and other events are scheduled to be held,
All in a country experiencing big time infrastructure problems and a major financial crisis whose president has been impeached.
Carl Lewis on his way to four gold medals in track and field, matching Jesse Owens’ total in 1936. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com
I know a person who’s quite close to me who has said that she is not going to watch the Games because of all the issues attached to it.
Despite all of this, I’m sure that once the torch is lit and the athletes start participating in earnest, people will put all the bad stuff on the back burner.
I’ll be honest:
These issues and the corruption of the IOC – anyone who awards a Winter Olympics to a city that’s located in a desert-like region with no mountains nearby (Beijing in 2022) has got to have some corruption in its soul – are a little overwhelming.
Some have suggested changing the by-laws as far as host selection, to dump the bidding process and choose one permanent site for both the Summer and Winter Games.
Which I feel is something to consider as if those cities are stable and in countries with none of the issues that Brazil or China (check out their record on human rights sometime) are dealing with, it will stabilize the Olympics and the Olympic Movement.
I don’t have any suggestions as to which city should be a permanent host for the Winter Games, except that it needs to be in an area that will guarantee snow and cold weather – unlike Beijing.
Which means someplace in Northern Europe or some Scandinavian country.
As for a permanent location of the Summer Games, I have a clear suggestion as to what town, though I fully understand how people will scream “Bias!” when I suggest this metropolis:
Los Angeles, California
The official Darling of the ’84 Olympics, Mary Lou Retton’s gold medal in the all-around sealing the deal. Photo courtesy of mastroanni.photoshelter.com
Believe it or not, the fact that L.A. is my hometown has nothing to do with the opinion that America’s second largest city – which along with Paris is on the short list of cities to host the 2024 Summer Games – is the best place for a permanent Olympic home.
Here are a few factors:
1. It’s a veteran of two well-organized and successful Games, held in 1932 and (especially) in 1984.
2. Unlike so many recent hosts who have had to construct venues – and forcibly evict low and no-income citizens to make room for such – Los Angeles not only have top-notch venues in place, it has constructed arenas like Staples Center, Honda Center, USC’s Galen Center, and has renovated places like UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion since ’84.
3. Although it’s a homeless hub – and probably always will be due to its location – and is known for its gangs – L.A. is a paradise compared to Beijing and Rio.
And unlike many of the European cities, it hasn’t experienced any terrorist attacks nor has it been under any real threat of any (knock wood).
4. Though it’s not where it needs to be, the infrastructure is better than it used to be, especially with regards to public transportation as the Metro Rail system, featuring the Blue Line going from downtown to Long Beach, the Orange Line going through the San Fernando Valley, and the newly expanded Expo Line, wasn’t around in 1984.
Nor was Uber, by the way.
In short, getting around the Southland without a car is easier now than it was 32 years ago.
These are just some of the reasons why Los Angeles would be an excellent permanent host to the Olympic Games every four years
Just something to think about – I certainly hope the IOC is listening as it if those men have even a little integrity…
They would at least consider it.
Part of the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Photo courtesy of gizmodo.com