Chamber Says Tulsa Lacks Infrastructure To Support Olympics
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa's Olympic dreams appear to be over, even though city leaders say there never was an official bid on the table. A Tulsa businessman had been leading the charge, but now the mayor and Chamber of Commerce say they can't support it.
In a Tuesday morning news conference, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce said hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics games is not the "focus area for the commission at this time."
Neil Mavis, the man behind Tulsa's Olympic vision says this was a chance to give our state international attention. Only now that dream has been put to rest.
Tulsa has been the home to a number of sporting events. There's the Bassmaster Classic, the NCAA basketball tourney, and Tulsa Tough. But something you won't be seeing here are the Olympic rings.
Ray Hoyt of the Tulsa Sports Commission and Mayor Dewey Bartlett took to the podium Tuesday to declare that the Olympics and Tulsa do not go together.
"I announce today that we are not actively seeking an Olympic bid nor supporting it," said Ray Hoyt, executive director of the Tulsa Sports Commission.
The U.S. Olympic Committee recently sent letters to 35 cities, including Tulsa, to gauge which cities would be interested in making a bid for the 2024 summer games.
Tulsa officials say the Tulsa area would be a good place for Olympic trials for basketball or equestrian events, but the city lacks the infrastructure to support Olympics.
"We aspire to do great things in Tulsa, but it has to be reasonable," said Ray Hoyt, Tulsa Sports Commission executive director.
"I don't want to throw cold water on Mr. Mavis' program or his opportunity, I just know that what I know in 20 years of my experience in the sports industry is that there are things that fit for communities and there are things that don't," he said.
Mavis is a Tulsa businessman and the one leading the charge to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Oklahoma.
"I think that nobody has really looked at all the numbers. I've got the research," Mavis said. "A lot of people have JMTC'd, jumped to conclusions."
Mavis has been working on bringing the Olympics to Tulsa for the past five years. He says it would be modeled after the Atlanta games and spread events across Oklahoma, from Norman to Tahlequah. He has a web site which is promoting the idea.
His effort recently got the attention of the New York Times. Its Sunday edition called Mavis' project a 'Heartland Olympic Dream."
That article spurred others, including one from Deadspin which called his quest, adorable.
"Unfortunately the timing of the Times article was completely unexpected, the impact of it was completely unexpected," Mavis said.
The Sports Commission says the media fallout has overshadowed their real goals, find sporting events that Tulsa can support without plunging the economy into the red.
"You don't bankrupt a state or a community or a region for something that's probably going to bring you three weeks worth of exposure," said Ray Hoyt of the Tulsa Sports Commission.
The Tulsa Sports Commission has recruited the following events for the city of Tulsa:
- AC Milan Heartland Cup, July 12 – 14, 2013
- USA Track and Field Masters 15k Championships, 2013 – 2015
- NCAA Women's Golf Championships, 5/20 – 5/23, 2014
- USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, 7/20 – 7/25, 2014
- National Bikers Roundup, 7/30 – 8/3, 2014
- Tim Selinski U.S. Masters Golf Championships, 4/25 – 4/27, 2014
- BMX Grand Nationals, 11/27 – 11/30, 2014
- BMX Sooner Nationals, January 2014
They are also pursuing bids for a Big XII conference championships, NCAA championships and several national championships for Olympic sports, according to Zach Fort of the Tulsa Sports Commission.