Wednesday, July 26, 2006

No 2016 Olympics for Houston

The United States Olympic Committee still hasn't formally decided if it wants to submit a bid city for the 2016 Summer Olympics at all, but if they do, it won't be Houston. Earlier today the USOC eliminated Houston, along with Philadelphia, as candidate cities. Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco remain in the running.

As I predicted a couple of months ago, Houston wouldn't make the cut mainly due to the fact that the city does not have a strong reputation in the international community. As the Chronicle reports, this is exactly what happened:
Houston's elimination hinged on the fact that, based on the USOC's survey of 58 members of the International Olympic Committee and 42 leaders of international sports federations, it lags badly behind Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco as a perceived center for international sports.

"Even though Houston is a great international city and highly respected, it's not that well known as the other cities (among international sports leaders) as the cities that are going forward," (USOC CEO Jim) Scherr said. "That's a critical factor."
USOC Vice President Bob Ctvrtlik (don't ask me how to pronounce it) suggested that Houston might build its reputation in the international community by hosting other major international sporting events.
"We were confident that Houston could host an Olympic Games," Ctvrtlik said. " ... It was mostly that their (IOC members') vision of Houston was more undefined. We're assuming that one way to improve that will be to host Olympic events and give the Olympic and the sports community a chance to see the wonderful parts of the city."
To that end, the USOC will pay another visit to Houston later this year to discuss the city's potential as a host for the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials or upcoming world championships. There's also some discussion that Houston might bid for the 2011 Pan American Games.

The city's Olympic dreams, otherwise, are dead for the foreseeable future. However, as I suggested a decade ago, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

1 comment:

Mike said...

"Even though Houston is a great international city and highly respected"

How can one say this without giggling, or crossing one's fingers? I mean, come on. Houston's about as highly respected as is Detroit in most of this country, undeserved though it may be.