Could Milwaukee host the 2024 Olympics?
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Every once in a while, an idea comes along that’s so absurd, so far-fetched, and so patently ridiculous that a legion of otherwise levelheaded and well-meaning folks can’t help but take it seriously. I’m speaking, of course, about the completely insane idea that Milwaukee—yes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin—could host the Olympics in 2024.
Done laughing? Good. In case you’ve been away from your social media machines this week, let me get you up to speed. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal posted a short piece entitled “The Perfect Host for the 2024 Games.” In it, WSJ notes that during the first 10 days of the 2012 Olympics in London, “broadcasts of the games scored 24.7 ratings points in Milwaukee residences, higher than any other market except Salt Lake City.” Therefore, WSJ concludes with its tongue firmly in cheek, Milwaukee would make the perfect host for the XXXIII Olympiad. Because of course it wouldn’t! (Those wishing to hit me with the classic “If you hate Milwaukee so much, why don’t you just leave?” argument can do so now.)
Depressingly, this dopey piece of traffic-bait is being shared and reported on by many local media outlets, blogs, and people who seem to be entertaining the notion that Milwaukee—yes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin—could one day host the Olympic games. (The Business Journal does acknowledge the absurdity of the idea with this: “Perhaps it’s time to organize a Twitter campaign? Hashtag: #longshot.”) But what everyone is missing—or, more likely, what everyone is choosing to ignore—is that the WSJ piece is a joke. A “Ha, ha, isn’t this the stupidest idea ever?” kind of joke. How else to explain this paragraph?
Imagine soccer at Miller Park, rowing in Lake Michigan, field hockey at Madison’s Camp Randall. As for the Olympic Stadium, why not use the most iconic outdoor venue in the state—if not the country? Lambeau Field. Granted, it’s two hours away but we’re talking 2024, and teleportation will likely be invented by then. Spectators will receive commemorative Olympic cheeseheads and be entertained by races between the Brewers’ Sausages, who are already way better mascots than Wenlock and Mandeville. And the Olympic slogan? “Hey, If Atlanta could do it….”
And you can take it from there: Imagine Milverine lighting the Olympic flame! Imagine John McGivern directing the opening ceremony! Imagine the Parade Of Nations taking place at the Grand Ave. food court! About the only feasible thing about this group fever dream is the prospect of replacing Bob Costas with Bob Uecker.
The reasons why Milwaukee could never, ever host the Olympic games should be so self-evident that they don’t need to be stated. But in short: transportation, hotels, transportation, and hotels. This is a city that couldn’t hold on to GenCon, for goodness’ sake—what makes anyone think that Milwaukee could possibly be an Olympic contender when it couldn’t even handle a few thousand dorks in Fullmetal Alchemist cosplay?
Of course, some people will claim that 2024 is a long way off, and that virtually anything could happen between now and then. (Maybe even teleportation!) But 2024 is only 12 years away—does anyone really think that Milwaukee could whip itself into Olympic size and shape in little more than a decade? Shit, we’re still debating a fucking downtown streetcar project.
So let’s put down whatever it is we’re smoking, lay off the Milwaukee Olympics Facebook page (285 “likes” and counting!), and admit the obvious: Milwaukee will never host the Olympics, and it will most certainly not host the 2024 Olympics. About the best we could hope for is a successful Chicago bid some time in the future (the Windy City lost out to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 summer games), which would almost certainly give our city some positive—and manageable—attention.
Until then, let’s enjoy the last few days of Olympic coverage from the comfort of our living rooms (something we love to do, apparently), and concentrate on other fun projects—like bringing the Super Bowl to Lambeau Field, because, yeah, that could totally happen, too.