Reality Check: Tulsa's Olympic Bid

Tuesday, August 4th 2009, 10:27 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The authors of the feasibility study admit that Tulsa is an Olympic underdog, but is a bid completely out of the question? 

The idea of a Tulsa Olympics may sound ridiculous to many people.  But, those pushing for it believe it's possible, and say even a failed bid would mean plenty of publicity for the city.

08/04/2009 Related Story:  Tulsans Look To Host 2020 Olympics

A Tulsa bid would face some monumental hurdles.  First and foremost, there's Chicago's 2016 candidacy.  The city is one of four finalists, and if awarded the games this October, the Olympics would not return to the U.S. in 2020.

Then there are the logistics.

Tulsa International Airport may be international in name, but it would have trouble handling the hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Once visitors arrived, they would find that Tulsa has no real public transportation system or enough places to stay.  The feasibility study says 40,000 hotel rooms is the benchmark for an Olympics.  It estimates that Tulsa and Oklahoma City have a total of about 30,000.

To make up the difference, the study proposes bringing in cruise ships and docking them at the Port of Catoosa.

The study says events would take place all across the state, and claims Oklahoma has the facilities to pull off the games.  OSU's Boone Pickens and OU's Memorial Stadium would host soccer, while other facilities like the BOK Center would host basketball.

There are other unlikely cities also mulling bids for 2020.  Pittsburgh, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Birmingham have considered going for the gold if Chicago doesn't get the 2016 games.

Proponents of a Tulsa bid are modeling it after Atlanta's.  The city was considered a dark horse, but beat out several favorites to get the 1996 games.  But, almost 20 years ago, Atlanta was already home to nearly three million residents.  Today, 900,000 people live in the Tulsa area.

Read The Feasibility Study

There are no population requirements for a city summiting an Olympic Bid.  The feasibility study makes no mention of Oklahoma weather.  The games usually take place in August, and it tends to be a little warm here this time of year.