It’s Nice to Dream, But the Olympics Won’t Work in Buffalo [POLL]
Can you imagine Ryan Lochte walking down Main Street or Gabby Douglas flipping her way past the ships at the Outer Harbor?
Apparently, Toronto Councilor James Pasternak can.
On Sunday night, I turned on the 11:30 news while waiting to get my late-night Olympics fix. I usually tune out most of the news, but one story caught my eye: This Toronto councilor wants Toronto and Buffalo to bid on the chance to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Together. He thinks that a joint international bid is the best way to get the Olympics back within North America (the games have only been held on this continent nine times since the first games in modern history).
If you’re as obsessed with the Olympics as I am, your gut reaction probably was “OH MY GOD, beautiful Olympians in MY city?! Sign me up!”
Even Mayor Byron Brown seemed interested in the idea.
“"It sounds great to me,” he told The Buffalo News on Tuesday. “"It's a novel concept, very interesting to hear about a proposal to bring an Olympics to a binational area -- to come to Toronto and the city of Buffalo. I'm certainly intrigued by it.”
But once you’re done thinking about how great this plan would be for our relationship with Canada and the spotlight it would put on the City of Buffalo (but really thinking how to get with the entire U.S. swim team…) you probably started to realize how flawed this plan is.
The Peace Bridge is backed up every time there’s a Canadian national holiday and every single person from Ontario rushes to the Galleria to trash our parking lots. People living on the West Side already complain about proposed plans to update the bridge and the surrounding plaza. Can you imagine what the biggest international event in the world would do to our border?
And would we be driving those two hours between Olympic venues? Would there be buses or a high-speed train? Could we apparate?
And I know you Buffalonians -- and I’m just as guilty -- think the Queen City is able to compete with the major cities of the world. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but this city is so economically deprived and completely unable to host, or even joint host, the games. Atlanta -- the last American city to hold the games in 1996 -- earned $10 million by hosting the summer sports...but spent $1.8 billion in return.
Buffalo and Western New York simply can’t afford that. You saw how Niagara Falls begged Nik Wallenda to pay up.
And we may be the second-largest city in New York State, but compared to the Big Apple, Buffalo is miniscule. Where would we put all these venues? Most cities use already-standing structures to house events.
Sure, it’s great to think about Buffalo hosting the games, but it’s not really plausible. Maybe Toronto should start looking to Detroit and Chicago if they’re really looking to create a “Great Lakes Games.”
But what do you think, fellow Buffalonians? Should Buffalo give the Olympics a chance?