View Full Version : OKC wanting to become an Olympic city

06-29-2007, 09:08 AM
Can someone please post the article from last Friday, June 22nd's issue of the Journal Record. I don't have online access. There was a nice article about how OKC is trying to lure more Olympic events, both as practice facilities and otherwise.

06-29-2007, 10:14 AM
There is also an article in this week's Gazette about Bart Conner and he states the same thing about making OKC an Olympic City.

06-29-2007, 10:29 AM
It was an AP article - here's a link to another paper
Shawnee Story (

06-29-2007, 11:03 AM
It follows...

FYI, if you put "Journal Record" in your thread title, we have a couple of people from that publication that post here and they'll usually produce the information you request. They actually want us to promote their publication. :)


Oklahoma City seeks greater presence in Olympic sports
by Jeff Latzke
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City wants to become a permanent training home for U.S. national teams in rowing and canoeing/kayaking, the executive director of the city’s boathouse said Wednesday.

Chesapeake Boathouse executive director Mike Knopp revealed proposals for buildings along the Oklahoma River downtown that could house the U.S. canoe and kayak team that is currently based in Charlotte, N.C.

The renderings also featured a high-performance training center, improved seating for spectators and a whitewater course.

“What we really are working on with rowing is becoming a permanent training venue for them, and then with USA Canoe/Kayak it would be the same thing – a permanent training venue at different times of the year,” Knopp said. “That involves a lot of things from housing the athletes to having the proper facilities to all of that.

“Canoe/Kayak could entertain the idea of moving here. They’ve already even talked about the possibility of that.”

Knopp, who is involved in planning for this fall’s USA Rowing World Challenge event that’s a warmup for next year’s Olympics, made his presentation as part of a luncheon held by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber on attracting amateur sporting events to the city.

Two-time Olympic gold-medal winning gymnast Bart Conner also spoke about attracting USA Gymnastics events, and Oklahoma City All-Sports Association executive director Tim Brassfield discussed college events including the NCAA basketball tournaments.

“The idea of moving to Oklahoma is pretty radical, but the fact that they’re having this international rowing event in Oklahoma City, which has not been done anywhere else, kind of demonstrates their commitment to Oklahoma City in the future,” Knopp said. “The way we look at this is anything’s possible.”

If Oklahoma City builds the proposed facilities, USA Canoe/Kayak executive director David Yarborough said he’d expect a national presence there because of a lack of top-notch training sites across the country.

“We can never have too much, and right now we clearly have too little in the way of these facilities,” Yarborough said.

Yarborough said his group already plans to bring either its Olympic trials or its national championships in flat water sprint racing to Oklahoma City next year, although the decision on which of the sport’s two marquee events hasn’t been made yet. He said a national convention for the sport will come to the city in November.

“We’re extremely excited about what’s going on out there,” Yarborough said.

Yarborough said the senior national flat water sprint racing team is based in Chula Vista, Calif., while the whitewater slalom team trains in Charlotte.

“In neither case do we have or want to have sort of exclusive places,” Yarborough said.

U.S. Rowing executive director Glenn Merry said Oklahoma City was being considered as a potential home for the under-23 rowing teams that currently don’t have a permanent training site. Merry said the Oklahoma River could also be used as a training site in the winter or other times when teams practice off site.

Merry said U.S. Rowing intends to keep its senior national teams based in Princeton, N.J., long term.

Knopp and Conner, who helped the city lure the USA Gymnastics women’s Junior Olympics last year and the men’s Junior Olympics this year, hope the events in their sports will help lead to more opportunities for Oklahoma City with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“We’re branding Oklahoma City as an Olympic-friendly city, and perhaps someday as an official Olympic site,” said Conner, who lives in Norman.

Knopp and Conner said there’s a strategy behind targeting their sports, which each give out about 40 medals in the Olympics.

“All of this goes back to the medal count. We can’t just cherry pick and say we want this sport and this sport,” Knopp said. “We’ve got to go after sports that we can make a difference on. That’s where the U.S. Olympic Committee sets us apart.

“They get a call about every other day from a city saying we want to have the Olympic rings. The difference with us is we’re looking at the U.S. Olympic Committee in a very systematic way: Where can we make an impact on the medal count?”

06-29-2007, 02:11 PM
So let me ask the question.

Could Oklahoma City become a host city for the summer Olympics??

06-29-2007, 02:25 PM

OU Adonis
06-29-2007, 07:41 PM

I would guess 20 years away.

06-30-2007, 10:55 AM
Could OKC host the Summer Games? Doubtful.

The smallest city to host them thus far has been Atlanta. You have to look at that criteria the IOC looks at for the host city.

1) Gov't and public support
2) Infrastructure to support games
3) Existing Sports venues or ability to build them.
4) Environmental conditions and impact
5) Accommodations
6) Transport concepts
7) Safety and security
8) Experience with past large scale sporting events
9) Ability to finance games
10) Past history with large projects

This would be a good piece of reading...

Can OKC meet these requirements? Not likely for the next 30-40 least not better than any other city out there.

1) Gov't and public support

Should be able to have, until law makers see the bill.

2) Infrastructure to support games

We have enough undeveloped land to support building the new venues, but so much more goes into it...

3) Existing Sports venues or ability to build them.

The Ford Center is probably the only venue that could support any of the events, besides the river front. I would image you will see some of the locations on the OU campus come into play as well. The most significant piece of it all would be Olympic Stadium that ususally has to seat around 150,000 people and be large enough to hold the track and field events. After the games are done, who would even consider using such a stadium? I doubt you'll get OU to move out of Norman.

4) Environmental conditions and impact

Probably not a major concern except for the rise in pollution with all the people here.

5) Accommodations

Obviously we would need to see doubling of the current hotel room offering - then what after the event?

6) Transport concepts

An existing light rail system will need to be in place and able to run between all the venues. I would also imagine (based on what other cities have done) that improvements to the highway systems and other items also must be done. People the biggest negative here will be WRWA not being an international point of entry with a customs facility. This is where the east concourse would come into play with a customs facilty able to process hundreds of customers an hour - for 2 weeks and then be done.

7) Safety and security

We should have this one pretty well nailed down...but the costs are going to be massive.

8) Experience with past large scale sporting events

Ummm...yeah this is something we'll need to fix over the next decade or two.

9) Ability to finance games

Anyone have a few billion dollars laying around? In a Pre-9/11 time, Atlanta spent roughly $2 Billion to host the games. OKC can expect to probably pay a little more.

10) Past history with large projects

We don't have any history with large sporting events. This is where we need to get a jump start on things and look at events like the various All-Star events, bowl games, etc.

One other thing that I would point out. shelling out roughly $35 million a year right now to fund the facilities they built for the Olympics because they are underutilized. Sure our state would see a wonderful infusion of about $1-3 billion in direct econominc impact...but after the games are gone, reality sets in and you are left with a lot of debt.

06-30-2007, 02:05 PM
I thought Athens was much smaller than Atlanta. Or are you talking about US cities as your statement was not clear.

06-30-2007, 03:02 PM
I don't think there is any way OKC could ever host the Summer Olympics. However, I think OKC could become the center of training from the US Olympic Committee. I also think it could host the Olympic Festival every 4 years. I can't think of a single event in the Summer Games that couldn't be peformed in OKC.

07-02-2007, 04:36 PM
I thought Athens was much smaller than Atlanta. Or are you talking about US cities as your statement was not clear.

Athens has 3.3 million people in their city limits, Atlanta...483,000.

When you get out into including the metro areas, Athens is up over 4 million and Atlanta is around 5.5 million...but for comparison reasons the IOC only notes city populations.

07-03-2007, 01:12 AM
OKC already held the Olympic Festival in 1989. It was a success, so I could see it happen again.

As for the actual olympics themselves, yes, I agree it would be a stretch if not impossible for OKC - its just too large of an event.

Now here is a possibility, we could share the risk of say Dallas having the Olympics. We could co-host some events, say rowing or other events that OKC has an advantage over. This same idea is being floated here in Seattle where city leaders want to "team-up" with Vancouver Canada.

As you all know, Vancouver is already getting the 2010 Winter Olympics, but Seattle wants to team up with Van City to try to co-host a summer games, and/or world cup and/or some large scale event.

Guys, even we *(Seattle) can't host a large scale event on our own. Our infrastructure SUCKS - whereas Vancouver's is awesome, but we have a bit more capital available, so it might work for us.

I think OKC could go with Dallas, offering a venue for games. This could also be a GREAT way to establish a high-speed rail link between the two cities (something also being proposed here between Vancouver and Seattle). This would be required of any cities co-hosting.

Chicago is trying to get the 2016 Summer Olympics (and most likely will), I wonder if Milwaukee is trying to get a few games, especially since they are essentially a Chicago suburb (only 80 miles, downtown Chi to downtown Mke).

This is the ONLY way OKC could get the summer Olympics, obviously Winter is out also. Team up with Dallas or settle for training/festival.

07-03-2007, 02:30 PM
OKC will never be a Summer Olympics host. I can think of 10 US cities that would host it before anyone else over the next 100 years (figuring a 16-year break when the USA wouldn't host): Chicago, New York, Los Angeles (for the third time), Denver, Phoenix, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas and Houston. We could definitely concentrate on becoming a big USOC Olympic Village or something.

07-03-2007, 03:08 PM
That's why I said we could team up with Dallas.

07-13-2007, 11:59 AM

My idea doesn't seem so ridiculous anymore!


07-13-2007, 12:20 PM
That's why I said we could team up with Dallas.

And Dallas would team up with Ft. Worth. No chance two major cities 200 miles apart could share Olympic events and have it make sense. Some things can go out a bit (like the rapid stuff in TN in 1996), but you can't just halve the Olympics between OKC and Dallas.

Personally, I wouldn't want the Olympics here. I love the Olympics, but there would be a lot of Albatrosses around The City's neck afterward.