Tulsa's Olympic Dreams Still Alive
By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's Olympic dreams are still going strong.
Three of the four newly elected city councilors support Tulsa's efforts to become a bid city for the 2020 Summer Games.
Tulsa's Olympic Committee is working on getting a letter of support from Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the full Council next year.
The U.S. Olympic Committee will pick its bid city in two years and there is a serious movement in Tulsa to make a run for the rings, without using public money.
There is a glimmer of hope for a city in dire economic straits, a growing movement to bring the Olympics to the Heartland.
Jack Henderson of the Tulsa City Council said, "When I first heard about this, I was kind of like, Tulsa? Hosting the Olympcis? C'mon. Be for real."
Councilman John Eagleton is already on board. Now, four more councilors heard the pitch, Councilors Roscoe Turner, Jim Mautino, Chris Trail, and Jack Henderson.
"It's not going to cost us anything at this point, so money is not an issue, since we're strapped as a city. But still, we need to one day focus in on trying to make something happen down the road that benefit this city," Henderson said.
Committee Chairman Neil Mavis is serious about the bid.
"What we're trying to do is copy the Atlanta model, which is get all private funding to fund the bid," Mavis said.
Atlanta outsourced some events as far away as Miami and Washington D.C. Tulsa would use nine universities across the state for the venue space.
Oklahoma would play up its Native American history, an historical theme that resonates with international voters.
"I think its going to be a true challenge to get Tulsa to be the host city, but we have gotten so many things here in Oklahoma that people thought we couldn't do," Henderson said.
But with City Council preparing for drastic budget cuts next year, why bother with an Olympic Dream?
"That's exactly what they said about Atlanta and they pulled it off on the first try, so we've got everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying," Mavis said.
Mavis says even a failed bid would generate positive publicity and national respect.
In 1996, Atlanta's Mayor signed a letter of support and the Olympic Committee raised $12 million privately to help fund the bid.
Atlanta, at that time, had four times the population Tulsa has, today.