By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Could a Summer Olympics be in Tulsa's future? A committee of Tulsa businessmen say "yes," and they say they have the data to back it up. On Tuesday, they presented a feasibility study to the Tulsa City Council.
The idea of Tulsa hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020 may seem silly, but for some Tulsans, it's no laughing matter. They're using Atlanta's successful - and surprising - bid 13 years ago as a model, and they say there's reason to believe a Tulsa Olympics is realistic possibility.
The five-member Tulsa 2020 Olympic Committee is comparing Tulsa to a pre-Olympics Atlanta. Atlanta's population was about four times larger, and they had professional sports stadiums, but there's no minimum population requirement.
Tulsa attorney Michael Jones says why not explore if it's possible?
"The problem most people think of when hosting Olympics is that they think everything needs to be done here. In actuality, Atlanta, when they did it, they proved that what you're looking at is a regional model," said Michael Jones, Tulsa Olympic Committee member.
And. Tulsa could launch a successful campaign around its proximity to major NCAA Division 1 sports stadiums and its rich Native American history.
"We've got the facilities. We've got the dorm count. And, we have the venues," said Neil Mavis, Tulsa Olympic Committee member.
The feasibility study proposes using facilities at the University of Tulsa, OSU Tulsa, Oral Roberts University, Northeast Oklahoma A&M, Northeastern State, Rogers State, Oklahoma State, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Arkansas.
"We actually have more facilities, in some degrees, than Atlanta had when they were going forward and pitching this idea," said Michael Jones, Tulsa Olympic Committee member.
Soccer is the Olympic cash cow. Atlanta in '96 outsourced soccer to Miami, Orlando, Alabama, Georgia, and Washington, DC.
Tulsa would similarly outsource soccer to large university stadiums around our region. And, at a minimum, the committee hopes this proposal will show Tulsa is willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the big boys.
"If you don't look at it and examine it, then you're never going to know if anybody is willing to do anything," said Michael Jones, Tulsa Olympic Committee member.
The Olympic Committee says it plans on raising private funds to start a campaign, but all plans are on hold until October 2nd. That's when the International Olympic Committee will decide if Chicago gets the 2016 Olympics.
If that happens, you can kiss the chances of another American games four years later goodbye.