Pittsburgh is virtually a shoo-in to host the 2024 Summer Olympics
By Eric Heyl
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 11:27 a.m.
Only 11 years 'til torch time.
People are reeling over the news, as they should be. The 2024 Summer Olympics are Pittsburgh-bound, a stunning development made all the more flabbergasting by the fact the U.S. Olympic Committee came to us.
The organization sent city officials a letter asking if we would be interested in hosting the games. Would we? Heck, yes!
It's unfortunate that some cynics always attempt to engage in parade precipitation, and are doing so amid the jubilation and celebration over this incredible coup.
Naysayers note the deal technically isn't official. They point out the committee sent the same letter to 34 other cities. They say that even if the committee backed a Pittsburgh bid, we'd compete for the games with second-rate foreign cities such as Toronto, Paris, Rome and Berlin.
As if any of that matters.
There are complaints that Pittsburgh doesn't meet the requirements stipulated in the letter for hosting the event. Let's refute that ugly falsehood by addressing each essential element the committee listed:
• An international airport
Pittsburgh International has extremely limited international service and offers nonstop flights to just 37 cities, but that hardly puts us at a disadvantage. We can sell the fact that lengthy layovers will provide athletes from distant locales a chance to see a greater number of American attractions, such as the Philadelphia International Airport Saladworks.
• Approximately 45,000 available hotel rooms
The region falls short of that requirement by about 15,000 rooms, but that's no biggie. Simply house folks in the many empty buildings the Pittsburgh Public Schools closed in recent years.
The accommodations might not be four-star. But a certain Findlay-based company probably would donate a sufficient number of tents to serve as sleeping quarters for everyone, as long as the event is rechristened “The Dick's Sporting Goods Games of the XXXIII Olympiad.”
• An Olympic Village for 16,500 athletes and officials
No need to construct an Olympic Village when we can simply retrofit the cavernous, recently shuttered Parkway Center Mall near the city-Green Tree border. This 19-acre slice of urban blight easily could be transformed into a bustling, centrally located Olympic campus with this bonus: With a Giant Eagle supermarket being the last surviving business on the property, the athletes won't risk running out of Gatorade and protein bars.
• A workforce of 200,000
Assuming Western Pennsylvania's 10-county population base of 2.6 million remains constant, that's doable with one minor caveat: It might prove difficult to find someone to perform the requisite shovel duty after equestrian events.
• A $3 billion operating budget
True, raising that amount seems daunting. But by dipping into the secret Pittsburgh Police Bureau credit union accounts the FBI is investigating, the city should be able to come up with the money.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.