Monday, May 12, 2014

New York Olympics?

Rio is set to host the 2016 Olympics and there are numerous reports that they aren't on schedule to be ready.  The city will host the World Cup this summer and there is talk that the IOC will use that event to gauge whether or not the Olympics are in jeopardy.  The latest report includes a rumor that Moscow could be a back up site.  The IOC dismissed this as fantasy and frankly, it's hard to see.  There is no way that Putin could be awarded another Olympic games when he's invading other countries.  A move to Moscow would quickly be followed by massive boycotts.
The Moscow rumor has almost certainly released in response to a report that London has been secretly been scouted as a back up in case Rio can't go.  The idea is that most of London's venues would still be open for business so the prep work would be easy.  There is even an historical precedent.  London got the 1948 games because they were most able to put the games together on a rush basis after WWII.
I wonder, though, how quickly a city like New York could organize things.  If, say, next week, Rio was hit by a meteor, how quickly could the Big Apple get things going?  Let's look at what venues were required for the London games in 2012.  Roughly, they had:
  • An Olympic stadium that was used for athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies.  New York has two major league baseball stadiums and the new Giants stadium.  Any of them could be used.
  • Four (I think) smaller arenas.  These were used for activities like basketball and gymnastics and the like.  A venue like Madison Square Garden would be comparable.  New York City probably has enough of these spots on their own, but if you extend to Boston and Philadelphia, you can get this to work with existing basketball arenas alone.
  • Football (soccer) fields.  London used six of these scattered throughout England, Scotland and Wales.  Again, you could easily find six NFL venues that are close to NYC.  And if that's too far out for you, there are probably 50 college sites that would also work.
  • Some place for the swimming and diving would be needed.  I couldn't find one quickly with Google but I'd be surprised if a venue didn't already exist somewhere on the North-Eastern seaboard.  Same with a velodrome.
  • Then there are a bunch of miscellaneous things like sailing and marathon and beach volleyball.  None of this would be difficult to find and build up. 
Which leaves us with things like a) ability to handle host the influx of crowds and b) handle traffic from venue to venue.  New York City just hosted the Super Bowl without any hotel problems.  For a summer event it would be easy to bring in half a dozen cruise ships to accommodate more guests.  And there is no place in the US that has a better, denser network of transportation options.  Between subways and trains, there wouldn't be crazy traffic problems.
I'm not saying it would be easy, but if Rio can't go in 2016, I bet that New York City could step in on a fairly short notice.

1 comment:

DD4 said...

Your review of NYC's capabilities to host the Olympics is very interesting, Peder. You should send this idea to the IOC.