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Everyone Should Just Calm Down About the Olympics Coming to Dallas

Athens’ abandoned, tagged Spiros Louis Stadium. Photo: Metro Centric, via Flickr

Yesterday, the United States Olympic Committee sent letters out to 35 American cities, to gauge their interest in bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Some locals thought the letter said “ZOMG DALLAS HERE’S THE OLYMPICS.”

Problem with that: Dallas is not even close to being able to handle the Olympics. There are a lot of metrics that Dallas fails at (reliable public transit being the massive, festering sore on any bid), but let’s just look at one: an Olympic stadium. NBC-DFW quotes the CEO of Dallas 2024, Matt Wood, as saying that Cowboys Stadium would be used in any bid. Read: Cowboys Stadium would be the Olympic stadium. Except the International Olympic Committee would never let that happen. Here are the past eight Summer Olympic stadiums (plus Rio 2016’s) and their approximate distances to downtown:

2016: Rio de Janeiro, Maracanã Stadium, downtown Rio
2012: London, Olympic Stadium, six miles from central London, six minutes by train
2008: Beijing, Beijing National Stadium, six miles from central Beijing
2004: Athens, Spiros Louis, 6.8 miles from central Athens, in Marousi
2000: Sydney, Stadium Australia, 10 miles west of central Sydney
1996: Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Stadium, immediately south of downtown Atlanta
1992: Barcelona, Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic, three miles from the Olympic Village in downtown Barcelona
1988: Seoul, Olympic Stadium, five miles from central Seoul
1984: Los Angeles, the Coliseum, three miles from downtown LA

2024: Dallas, Cowboys Stadium, 19 miles from downtown Dallas

Every other stadium (with the exception of the Athens games) is in the host city. Now maybe Dallas would build a new stadium at Fair Park, but do we really have the $700 million to do that? Or the hundreds of millions to renovate the Cotton Bowl? And that would be on top of the $3 BILLION operating budget estimate.

I love the Olympics, but Dallas needs to consider fully the implications of launching another bid.