Last week, the US Olympic Committee selected Boston as the United States representative in the competition to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. And while I’m certain the USOC did a thorough job in the process, I think there are a few cities that didn’t get a fair chance as America’s hope for 2024.
Despite what you may think, the northern reaches of Alaska would have provided a fascinating Olympics venue. Barrow might not have the fancy-schmancy amenities like “cell phone service” and “7-Eleven,” and it may have proven expensive to fly the millions of people who go to these sorts of things to a town with a tiny airport, but there’s one thing that Barrow has that not even posh San Francisco or grand Washington DC can lay claim to: midnight sun. The Barrow sun basically never sets in June or July, so having the Olympics there in those months would’ve helped everyone save money on lighting. They would’ve also saved time by scheduling events for all 24 hours of the day! It’s light at three in the morning, so what would have stopped early-bird pole-vaulting from being a thing? The whole Olympics would have been over in a week! Additional events for Barrow 2024 could have included Permafrost Thawing and Recreating That One Liam Neeson Movie With the Wolves.
I’m very puzzled why this town in Texas Hill Country was not taken into serious consideration as an Olympic host. Noted painter, dancer, and wordsmith George W. Bush, the eccentric son of former president George H.W. Bush, lives on a 1,500-acre ranch outside of the city. Once he got around to clearing some brush, there should have been plenty of room for a stadium and a few gyms. And it being rural Texas, I’m just assuming there’s already a swimming hole. As a former MLB team owner and a good decider, Bush himself would have run the whole thing, constantly telling competitors that they’re “doing a heck of a job” regardless of their success. He could have given the IOC a bailout if they went over budget. Additional events could have included Synchronized Troop Withdrawal and a scavenger hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
West Salem, Wisconsin
When my aunt Marge heard I was writing this story, she immediately called me to propose her small hometown in western Wisconsin as a site. I was skeptical at first, but Marge really knows how to sell a place. “We got da county fairgrounds here, ya know, and that nice new ball field over at da high school,” she basically yelled into the phone in her grating yet endearing Wisconsin accent. “An da athletes can just stay here! We just need to turn Dan’s Packer Cave into a few bedrooms, dat’s an Olympic Village right dere!” She assured me that there was some land over off Neshonoc Road available for parking or whatever else could be needed, “like an outdoor hockey rink or sumpthin’”. When pressed about any “white elephants” that could be left behind in West Salem, like they were in Athens or Beijing, she noted that it’s “too friggin’ cold up here” for elephants. The USOC really missed a gem. Additional events for West Salem 2024 would have included Cow Tipping and Obesity.
New York City, 1892
The Olympics in New York would be a hellish nightmare, the likes of which the world is not prepared for. But what would happen if we could have it in 1892? Some countries would not have felt very welcome given how racist 1892 America was, but all of the construction costs would be cut by deflation and the fact that “building code” was just slipping five bucks to the local political machine. The Olympic Village could just be one half-block of tenements, and swimming could have been in the East River. No one would really care if the whole thing was a mess, because the modern Olympics weren’t invented yet. I guess the USOC wasn’t thinking outside of the box this time around. Additional events for New York City 1892/2024 could have included That Thing with the Hoop and the Stick from Your US History Textbook and Baseball Where No One Hits Home Runs.
I checked the rulebook like seven times and couldn’t find anything that says we couldn’t have just done this. I mean, does the United States really want the Olympics? They’re a mess, they’re expensive, and we don’t even have good athletes in a ton of these sports. How many honest-to-God archers have you met? The Olympics hold a special place in our hearts, but at least 60% of that is from the theme music on NBC. So why not let someone else take it? Not putting in a bid is lame, but bidding for another city that probably wants it more and would run it much better just makes sense. Have you seen bullet trains? Those things are so fast! This would have been a much better bid than Boston. But knowing the IOC, Boston is such a bad nominee, it just might get selected anyway.