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Why Dallas Needs the 2024 Olympics

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No, no, no. Please no! That’s what I thought when I saw a tweet from Mark Lamster endorsing an article by Kriston Capps arguing why the Games are good for cities in democracies. Then I read the article, this gist of which goes like this:

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wouldn’t mind putting his gargantuan stadium on several bazillion television screens, Texas Monthly speculates. But to realize a 2024 bid, Dallas would need to connect AT&T Stadium with a renovated Cotton Bowl more than 20 miles away—and other venues even farther afield. This would almost certainly require the kind of intensive public transit in which Dallas has been slow to invest. Especially for a megalopolis like D.C. or Dallas, hosting a mega-event opens a bridge over the political gulfs that make massive public transit schemes so difficult to conceive otherwise.

Hmm. I’ve always believed the conventional wisdom, that the Games cost cities money. But maybe they cost them money in the right way? As long as the Games aren’t used as an excuse to build the Trinity toll road. Please.

12 comments on “Why Dallas Needs the 2024 Olympics

  1. Dallas is actually set up super well for an Olympic or World Cup bid between Jerryworld, the Cotton Bowl, and TMS, smaller venues such as Toyota Stadium in Frisco, QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, and even, quite possibly, a renovated Allen HS Stadium and places of that ilk. LET’S DO THIS.

  2. To a certain extent, we’re well equipped. (No one, NO ONE, should read this as an endorsement.) But a few notes:

    – Sailing would need to take place in Corpus Christi, six hours away. When the USOC explored Dallas as an option in 2001 (for the 2012 games), they knew the original plan of Lake Ray Hubbard wouldn’t stand up to international scrutiny, so they tossed it to Corpus. Six hours away.

    – A complete rowing/sprint canoe facility would need to be built. A similar facility cost London about $30 million. The other plan would be to dredge the Trinity and level it for sprint canoeing and rowing, another not-cheap option.

    – A brand-new whitewater center. London’s cost $52 million.

    – I’m not sure why I focused on paddle sports.

  3. Actually getting the Olympics would probably be the only way we’d have the will to move I-30 and put Fair Park back in the heart of the city. The timing will also line up with a coming rule change that will allow states to toll interstate highways.

    What we’ve been arguing against as the “trinity tollroad” will become a combined I-30/45. South Dallas will be opened up and reconnected to the city and 40,000 units of housing will be built to jumpstart a walkable community.

    Oh, and the Olympics will only consider venues that are connected to mass transit, that would force Arlington’s hand and make them join DART or miss out on the party. I imagine many other reluctant suburbs would also fall in line. The potential for infrastructure improvements is almost limitless.

  4. Atlanta got a heck of a lot of really nice roads out of their Olympics. And some great college dorms.

    But that was in the old days of the Olympics.

  5. Sailing would have to take place in Corpus Christi, that’s certainly true. But Dallas could otherwise put together a very compact bid. Almost all of the venues would be inside of Loop 12 and within walking distance of an existing DART stop.

    – Fair Park can house the media center and Olympic Village. Use a renovated Cotton Bowl for track and field events. A renovated Fair Park Coliseum can be used for anything from table tennis to badminton to wrestling. Open areas of Fair Park can also be converted to temporary use as venues for archery, equestrian events, and beach volleyball. Fair Park Music Hall would be perfect for fencing and weightlifting.

    – Beach volleyball, though, should really be at the Woodall Rogers Deck Park. Downtown has a number of places that can be quickly converted to Olympic venues. A refurbished Convention Center Arena could be used for boxing, judo, and taekwondo. AAC would obviously be needed for basketball and gymnastics.

    – SMU has venues that would be needed. Moody Coliseum would be used for handball and probably some basketball games. Ford Field would be needed for field hockey.

    – White Rock Lake can be used for rowing. Use the Trinity for the white water events.

    So there you go–virtually all of the venues already exist and are within a 15-minute DART train ride of one another. The only thing that would need to be built is an aquatics center, and those are usually temporary structures anyway. That can go in Downtown (Reunion) or in Fair Park without too much difficulty.

    I’ve lived in this town long enough to know that we’re going to waste the money on some boondoggle anyway, whether it be on a tollroad through a floodplain, a bridge to nowhere, or a hotel that Karl Marx would be proud to stay at. But the Olympics would give us an opportunity to actually do something useful with that money–bury I-30 and tear down I-345, reconnect Fair Park with Downtown and East Dallas, and turn neglected neighborhoods into boomtowns.

  6. As a former collegiate rower, I respectfully disagree that White Rock Lake could be used for Olympic-level rowing. From the International Rowing Federation course guidelines:

    – The course must be sheltered from wind as far as possible. If not, there must be no natural or artificial obstacles (such as woods, buildings, structures) in the immediate
    neighbourhood of the course which might cause unequal conditions on the water.

    – On a standard course there should be no stream. Any stream existing should be so slight as not to give rise to unequal conditions on the different lanes. The running of the race must not be influenced by natural or artificial waves. The banks must be so designed as to absorb and not to reflect waves.

    Those are just two of the standards that White Rock doesn’t meet. And—since development around the lake is so hotly contested—I don’t see the neighborhood going for it. Start towers, finish towers, stands…

  7. 1. Summer Olympics in Dallas. Visitors and athletes will love our temperate climate.

    2. Olympic site and contractor selection are always free of corruption and cronyism. That’s good because The City of Dallas and business community are free of these problems. No one will want equity and prominent family businesses will not get a cut just because.

    3. Olympics are a cost effective way to build the infrastructure of a city. Facilities are always reused to their maximum potential.

    4. Atlanta, with a weather climate and colorful political/business culture similar to Dallas, soared to new heights after their most wonderful, spectacular Olympics. L.A. ’84 what? Lake Placid ’80 who?

    5. Oh, don’t worry. It will not cost Dallas very much money. Hey, let’s float a special bond package to support the Olympics and rebuild a new Dallas. Capt. America (Roger), will you chair the campaign? Oh, don’t worry, we don’t need to track bond appropriations. Look at our track record.

    6. Oh hey, Fair Park residents. Oh, that bulldozer? Well, the good news is that there will be new houses on your land.

  8. Dallas will be sold the same bill of goods as Atlanta ’96 and we’ll receive the same benefits – that is, not much. Atlanta was promised “world class” status, sustainable jobs and leading edge infrastructure. Instead, they received unfulfilled promises of redevelopment. The pockets of pols, construction companies and real estate companies lined with gold.

    That’s not how I want my city to grow and change.

  9. There was so much concern about traffic when the Olympics came to LA. We thought the entire city would be gridlock. That did not turn out to be the case and it was a total blast having the Olympics.

  10. A summer Olympics in Dallas would be just like Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, only without the thousands of dead Pakistani and Nepalese slaves.

    Like Qatar, the corruption and bribery would be rampant. Those southern sector preachers and in-laws of minor politicians will demand their cut.

  11. Pretty sure the Brazos in Waco could be used. I think Dallas suggested it when they first looked at the Olympics.