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Friday, May 17, 2013
Tulsa inspires small-town Olympic dreams

By DJ Gallo



Sydney. Athens. Beijing. London. Rio. Tulsa.

Wait. What?

One city doesn’t belong, right? If you’re a member of the Tulsa 2024 Olympic Exploratory Committee, though, your answer is that all six cities are equals.

Yes, Tulsa, Okla. -- the second-largest city in the state, home of the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock and host of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic -- is considering making a bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

"I see this as a great opportunity, I really do,” said Tulsa’s mayor, who probably has a name like Dewey Bartlett. Oh. His name really is Dewey Bartlett. Anyway: "If we come off looking a little lighthearted on it, so much the better, but we are serious about putting our name out there."

Good for them. Tulsa should be an inspiration for smaller cities and towns across America. If Tulsa thinks it can host the world’s biggest event, why can’t your town too?

Submitting an Olympic bid takes a lot of work, however. Many towns don’t have the resources or time to write a bid. Not a concern. Playbook has developed an Olympic bid template any town in the United States can use to make a run at the 2024 Games.

Print it out, tweak it here or there for your town’s specific features, and send it in.

Best of luck to your town, and best of luck to Tulsa too! (Let’s just hope the USOC and IOC gives our small towns a fair shot and doesn’t just automatically give the bid to some huge metropolis like Oklahoma City.)



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



The Olympic Games are traditionally held in big cities. Why? Small cities and towns are where most of the athletes come from, and small cities and towns have all that’s needed to host this great world event.

Please consider our Olympic bid. The Games could use a change. Give a small town a shot. Sports are all about the underdog.

You will see that our town has everything and more for a great Olympic Games!



VENUES

Olympic Stadium/Track and Field Venue: Our High School Football Stadium

Our town’s high school football stadium has a football field and a 400-meter track and seats 4,600 people -- with room for many more standing along the fence surrounding the track. It also has lights and an electric scoreboard. The sound system isn’t the best. Currently it sounds like the public address announcer is a guy with emphysema talking into a bullhorn through a Burger King drive-thru speaker. But if we are given the Olympics, it’s likely a local business would step up and contribute money for a new sound system. This stadium would also be the site for the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium successfully hosted the 2007 county marching band championships.

Aquatics Venue: Community Pool

We have an almost-Olympic-sized swimming pool in town! It had a leak in it last year, but thanks to a bake sale fundraiser led by the Lions Club, it got patched! We have two diving boards. There is no platform dive, what with the high cost of insurance, but maybe an Olympic event can be added to feature our 38-foot water slide with TWO turns! For the fans, we have a fully stocked snack bar featuring pizza, hot dogs and soda. There is also a blacktop basketball court inside the pool grounds that could host the early rounds of the men's and women's basketball competition. There is no hanging on the rims, however. Doing so results in immediate ejection from the pool grounds.

Gym Sports Venue: High School Gym and the YMCA

Basketball, volleyball, wrestling, badminton, whatever handball is, gymnastics -- we can host them all. The main gym floors at our high school and our town’s YMCA have lines for basketball and volleyball. There is also a full-sized basketball court at the middle school, but the floor is pretty old and it is slippery even if it’s just been swept.

If these venues are not enough to accommodate all the gym sports, the badminton competition can be moved to any number of backyards in our town. Gymnastics have not been part of our gym curriculum since the late '80s -- again thanks to insurance issues. (People will sue you nowadays if their kid gets hurt falling off a pommel horse.) However, we probably have most of our gymnastics equipment still in some equipment closet somewhere.

Archery, Shooting, Fencing Venue: Gun Club

If shooting is what you want, then our town’s Gun Club is the place to do it. It has several rifle ranges, and you can hear people blasting away over there at pretty much any hour of the day. It has never hosted a fencing event, but the gun club members are open to pretty much any weapon someone might show up with.

Equestrian Venue: Horse Farm Off Route 12

There’s a horse farm off Route 12 on the way out of town (turn right past Quality Propane Supplies and go about 2 miles; you’ll see signs) that offers riding lessons. They’re fairly expensive, but it’s likely the owners would give you a good rate for the Olympics.

Judo, Taekwondo and Boxing Venue: Ken’s Karate

Right beside the Subway in the mini-mall is Ken’s Karate. Ken offers karate lessons to people of all ages and supposedly has a black belt. He probably knows stuff about judo, taekwondo and boxing too.

Weightlifting Venue: Gold’s Gym and a 24-hour place

We have two gyms in town that would be well-suited to host the Olympic weightlifting competition. L.A. Fitness is big, clean and well-lit. Access to the weights just depends on when you get there. There are certain hours during the week when meatheads hog everything. You know how it is. There is also a 24-hour place that could fit any Olympian’s schedule, but they mostly have machines there.

Golf and Tennis Venue: Country Club

The members of our town’s country club absolutely rave about the facilities. Really. You’ve never heard anyone talk so highly of something. Based on their statements, it’s doubtful the Olympics could find a better venue for golf and tennis.

Canoe, Kayak, Rowing and Sailing, Triathlon Venue: State Park

We have a state park not too far from town -- it’s actually just 10-15 minutes beyond the horse farm/Equestrian Center -- with a large lake that could easily host all these events. There are leeches and snakes in the water, but that’s nothing compared to the Sydney Olympics when they swam in shark-infested waters. Advantage: our town.

Table Tennis Venue: Any number of basements

Many of our town’s residents have table tennis -- or as we call it: pingpong -- tables in their basements. Also, if you’d like to add pool and bubble hockey as Olympic sports for 2024, we can accommodate those as well.

Soccer, Hockey and Rugby Venue: High School Athletic Fields

Assuming that by “hockey” you mean “field hockey,” our high school’s athletic fields can accommodate all three sports. Our high school’s soccer team plays its games at the football stadium, but since that will be in use for track and field, you can use the practice field. We don’t have a rugby field, but maybe you can use our baseball or softball field for that. (Still not sure why you don’t have baseball and softball in the Olympics, but whatever.)



OLYMPIC VILLAGE



We are unique in that our entire town is barely bigger than a village. The athletes would live among the local citizens like no Olympics before it!

We have three hotels/motels in town to hold some of the athletes and fans. The rest could stay in the homes of locals who volunteer to house and feed them for the duration of the Games. We have done this in the past. One year, a youth soccer team from England came and stayed for a week as part of an exchange program. And another year an ice hockey team from Canada did the same. This would be similar, just on a larger scale.

We also boast many delicious restaurants, including an Applebee’s, which would no doubt make any team feel at home, just like in its commercials.



TRANSPORTATION



We have one bus route that runs east-west through town. We also have a bus that looks like a trolley car that we bring out for special events -- town festivals, parades, etc. -- that would be available for the Olympics. We would also ask many of our volunteers to shuttle athletes and fans to and from events in their vans.

Greyhound buses stop in our town, and the airport is about a 50-minute drive.




OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES


The theater director at our high school is outstanding. Last year she had the kids put on “Bye Bye Birdie,” and every night sold out. And don’t think this is just some small-town production either. She performed on Broadway for two years after college but moved back here to raise her family. We are very proud of her! No doubt she would put on an outstanding show that would wow the world!



We think you will see that our town has everything an Olympics could need! Feel free to visit anytime to see for yourself! If you can make it July 4, we’re having a parade that would give you a glimpse into all that we can do.

We look forward to hearing your decision.