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Olympics could mean big things for Lebanon
Mar 01, 2013 6:18 pm
It might be premature for folks in and around Nashville to start building Olympic Rings in the front yard.
Nashville was one of 35 cities to receive a letter from the U.S. Olympic Committee requesting the city bid for the 2024 Summer Games.
The USOC wrote the mayors of the 35 largest cities in the country suggesting they might want their city to host the Olympics 11 years from now - and take on all expense and risk associated with hosting such an international event.
It is estimated a host city would have to boast 45,000 hotel rooms, update transportation and come up with 200,000 people to work the event. Just trying for the games can be an expensive proposition. New York and Chicago reportedly spent approximately $10 million each on failed bids and not even a pleas from President Barack Obama could sway the decision toward Chicago.
In a statement to the press, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said it was nice to receive the letter, but he wouldn't count on anything.
"We are flattered we received the letter," he said. "It's something that is a tremendous commitment for a city to consider."
The 1996 Atlanta Summer Games ended up being remembered not for the competition, but for the bombing in Centennial Park the subsequent arrest of Richard Jewell, who was later found to be innocent.
The 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City hit so much trouble that Mitt Romney was called in to save the day.
Lebanon City Councilman Rob Cesternino lived in Atlanta during that city's Olympic Games. In fact he worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation during the games.
"I was dispatched to the Centennial Park bombing," he said.
The councilor said despite the bomb, he found hosting the Olympics to be a positive experience for the city.
"It was an absolutely amazing transition in the city with everyone pitching in and working together," Cesternino said.
As to the odds of Nashville landing the games, he is optimistic.
"I coached basketball for 20 years, and every time we laced up, I thought we had a chance," he said. "You never know. Did anyone think Lebanon would get the Amazon distribution center on 840? Did anyone think we'd get the Starbucks distribution center here? Regardless, maybe they'll consider Nashville for another Olympics in the future and it's free press for us."
Of course, the Olympics are a source of pride, but that pride comes at a great cost - building places for the competitions, added police and fire protection and usually upgrading public transportation to accommodate all those tourists. As Athens learned in 2004, pride doesn't pay the bills.