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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Olympic Games in Birmingham? Mayor says, Why not?Posted by News staff -- The Birmingham News June 21, 2008 6:00 AM
Categories: Breaking News
Mark Almond/Birmingham News

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, right, and state Sen. Hinton Mitchem, D-Albertville, hold the ceremonial torch aloft during Friday's opening ceremony for the Alabama Sports Festival in Birmingham.In just 47 days, thousands of athletes will converge on Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games and millions around the world will tune in to watch the best in the world compete.
If Mayor Larry Langford has his way, that same spotlight will be on Birmingham in 2020. Langford is putting together a committee to make a bid to bring the Olympic Games to the Magic City.

"Why not Birmingham? -- that's my question," Langford said Friday. "You don't know what you can do till you try it. We've got everything it takes to make it work."

Langford said the committee will evaluate all available athletic facilities in Birmingham and neighboring cities in making the application.

By 2020, as the mayor sees it, all the city projects currently envisioned, including an indoor track and Olympic-sized swimming facilities at Fair Park and a domed stadium would be completed.

"That's the beauty of a 12-year planning period," Langford said.

Birmingham has passed an early test in hosting the games, the mayor said, referring to 1996 when the city hosted Olympic soccer competitions. Atlanta hosted the Olympics that year.

Like Atlanta and other host cities, Langford said Birmingham would undertake a massive building campaign to prepare to host the world.

"We are an international city," he said. "The whole world looks at Birmingham either in a positive light or a negative light."

The games would positively change the image of the city, he said.

If successful, Birmingham would be among the smallest cities to ever host the games. Helsinki, Finland, with a metro area today about the same size as Birmingham's, hosted the 1952 Summer Games. At that time, far fewer athletes participated and fewer sports were part of the games.

The idea of bringing the Olympics to Birmingham also was presented by State Rep. John Rogers in 2005 as he lobbied for funding for a domed stadium at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

But winning the games is a complex process of competing against other cities and making one stand out as the best.

"The primary obstacle is having the sufficient infrastructure to support the Olympic Games," said Louis Marino, a University of Alabama business professor who studies business-government relationships and partnerships. "Could it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No. But that shouldn't stop one from dreaming."

Infrastructure including upgrades at the Birmingham International Airport, mass transportation improvements and additional hotels are all needed to support the games, he said. The costs are high and money is tight, Marino said.

"Given the time frame that we're shooting for, I don't think it's one that we could really achieve," he said.


I would have to give the mayor credit for being an "ideas man", but this one is very very very far fetched. I also want Birmingham to become a player on the world stage someday, but lets be real here, the Olympics??. no.
 

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Good luck Birmingham but if Dallas and Houston aren't considered qualified hosts for the Olympics, you guys have a llllloooonnnngggg way to go.
 

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"We are an international city," he said. "The whole world looks at Birmingham either in a positive light or a negative light."

And what about if most of the world has never even seen Birmingham in light at all? Its definitely not an international city.

But seriously. Good Luck. :]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
^^Tell me about it. This metro would have to undertake a MAJOR overhaul just in infrastructure alone. Lets just put it like this Birmingham has a better chance at an NFL franchise, than the Olympics.
 

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SoCal Hal
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I think everybody misses the point here. The idea is that he's creating interest and conversation about the city. He doesn't really think it can happen. But it never hurts to dream.
 

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I think everybody misses the point here. The idea is that he's creating interest and conversation about the city. He doesn't really think it can happen. But it never hurts to dream.
Your exactly right. He knows just as well as anyone else that the city's odds of getting the games are slim to none. As a result of this he is getting the name out and creating interest. Birmingham in not an international city, most people would not have even heard of the city if not for the civil rights era. I think he is doing a great job of getting the city's name out from both a national and international bases.
 

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Another major issue would be hotels, since I doubt theres enough rooms right now. But who knows? Maybe in the process alot would be improved in the area even if things dont happen
 

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Ok, the finalists are already chosen for the 2020 olympics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think everybody misses the point here. The idea is that he's creating interest and conversation about the city. He doesn't really think it can happen. But it never hurts to dream.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming, and again I credit the mayor for at least being an ideas man, no matter how far fetched it might be. I think even just talking about this issue may benfit this area in some way. I for one am sick of being just known for what happened during the civil rights era.
 

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There is nothing wrong with dreaming...this is a PIPE dream.
 

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SoCal Hal
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Here is Kevin Scarbinsky's take on it:

Mayor Larry Langford needs vision checked - Birmingham not ready for Olympics
Monday, June 23, 2008
OK, Larry Langford. This is reality, not a reality show. So you think you can do the Olympics? In Birmingham? In 2020?
Check your vision.
Here's what you need to know, or should've known before opening your mouth and proving there's a fine line between dream and delusion.



First things first. Pull for Tokyo, Madrid or Rio de Janeiro to beat out Chicago to play host to the 2016 Summer Games. Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee chose those cities as the finalists.
If the Summer Games come to this country in 2016, they won't come back in 2020. The United States Olympic Committee won't even bother putting forth a U.S. applicant for that year.
By the way, Chicago beat out Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Philadelphia to earn the USOC's nod for 2016.
Good luck competing with major-league cities like those.
Prague (Czech Republic), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Doha (Qatar) were the international cities that applied for 2016 but didn't make the cut. The fact that no one outside the city limits has heard of Baku or Doha, but has heard of Prague, had nothing to do with it.
Each city had to submit an exhaustive plan covering 11 different areas, from metro population to accommodations to public opinion. An IOC working group evaluated the plans and rated each city in each category.
The data in the working group's report make it clear that Birmingham would be light years out of its league in this competition.
Consider the population of the four finalists for 2016. Tokyo: 12.8 million. Rio: 11.5 million. Chicago: 8 million. Madrid: 6.2 million.
The IOC requires at least 40,000 rooms in the metro area in hotels rated 3-5 stars. Motels that promise to leave the light on for you don't count.
Chicago has 75,062 rooms that fit the IOC's needs. Tokyo has 109,090.



Even if Birmingham weren't a one-stoplight town by comparison, public opinion might sink our bid as soon as it stuck one toe in the water.
The IOC conducts its own surveys to determine if the local population would support an Olympic bid. Here are the local approval ratings for the four 2016 finalists: Madrid, 90 percent; Rio, 77 percent; Chicago 74 percent; and Tokyo, 59 percent.
We can't even get the locals who want to build a dome to agree on where to put it.
It takes a lot of people working a lot of hours to make the Regions Charity Classic or the Papajohns.com Bowl work. The IOC describes the 16-day Summer Games as 4-8 million spectators making 1.5 million to 2 million "journeys" a day to watch more than 300 individual competitions at more than 30 venues.
It was an upset of Olympian proportion that Atlanta won the right to stage the 1996 Summer Games and pulled it off. If the USOC ever picked Birmingham as this country's nominee, it would be the equivalent of Angola knocking off the original Dream Team.
That didn't come close to happening, either.
Here's the upcoming list of Summer Games doers and dreamers.
2008: Beijing. 2012: London. 2016: Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid, Rio.
2020: Birmingham?
That's not vision. That's blind ambition. Kevin Scarbinsky's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Write him at [email protected]
 

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"We are an international city," he said. "The whole world looks at Birmingham either in a positive light or a negative light."

And what about if most of the world has never even seen Birmingham in light at all? Its definitely not an international city.

But seriously. Good Luck. :]
That mayor is smoking crack if he thinks anyone outside of the U.S. has even remotely HEARD of Birmingham.
 

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The city of Atlanta has already hosted the Olympics back in 1996. Since it isn't that far away, it would end up back there again before Birmingham would even be considered (no disrespect). Personally, I think Central or South Florida would be a good location out of the Southeast region for a future Olympic site. :eek:kay:
 

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Here's the latest response:

Langford says Birmingham Olympic bid no joke

Posted by [URL="http://blog.al.com/spotnews/about.html"]Joseph D. Bryant -- The Birmingham News[/URL] June 24, 2008 2:48 PM


Landing the 2020 Olympics in Birmingham will be a tough task but one that can be accomplished, Mayor Larry Langford said today.

Langford, holding a 257-page manual for applying for the games, told the City Council that he was serious about the vying for the international competition.


"We're the only ones who have difficulty recognizing our own potential," the mayor said. Langford told The Birmingham News in a story Saturday that he planned to seek the Olympic games and would create a committee to make the application.

Today he gave the council a bound booklet that included the economic impact of the Olympic games in other cities, details about the events, and potential host athletic venues in the Birmingham region. Langford said he would complete the application process by the end of the year.

The application fee is $500,000 and that cost would be split by business leaders and the city, he said.

"This is not a game or a joke," he said. "You don't spend half a million if you don't believe in the product you're trying to sell. There's nothing cheap about this."

Joseph D. Bryant
 

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Huh?

No, the finalists have been chosen for 2016, not 2020.
Yes, I figured that out right after I posted, and I think they've chosen the 2018 finalistis too.
 

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OK! This is the best joke I have heard in a long time. There is nothing wrong with Birmingham but I do not think they have the inter-structure or money for Olympic Games.
 

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I could see Jacksonville getting the Olympics before B'ham, but I'm all for B'ham and Alabama getting their name out there and in consideration.

If they ever got it, I'd hope events would make it to surrounding cities, maybe one in each major city, and then something for Tuscaloosa and Auburn.
 
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