Deford column - Big D: Big dream
Published 1:27 pm, Thursday, February 3, 2011
Even as Dallas bursts its buttons, hosting the Super Bowl for the first time in Jerry Jones' new American coliseum, the city has developed an even greater itch it wants to scratch.
Okay, here we go again.
The International Olympic Committee has dismissively rejected New York and Chicago in recent Olympic competitions, and FIFA, chose little Qatar over the U.S. for soccer's '22 World Cup, but Dallas is growing ever more determined to declare its candidacy for the 2020 Games.
Is that masochistic? Are we just the giant sugar daddy nobody in sport loves? When the vote is taken in 2013, will Dallas even have a chance against such other presumed contenders as old world classics like Rome and Madrid; or Instanbul -- especially now that Turkey is sort of the "it" country;" or Dubai, the luxurious Oz of the Persian Gulf?
The fact is, that the IOC's Europhile members prefer to take our musty television money, but to give the glamorous Games themselves to somebody else. While the U.S. has four times hosted the Summer Olympics, on three of those occasions -- St. Louis in 1904 and Los Angeles in '32 and '84 -- no foreign city bid. The IOC just had to hold its nose and let its precious show go to America.
Then, when Atlanta did win in 1996, foreigners found it by far the most unattractive of all modern Olympics. Poor Salt Lake City won the 2002 Winter Games and then was caught up in a scandal that embarrassed the IOC. Never mind the fact that Olympic corruption was endemic and Salt Lake just happened to get caught in a rare fit of Olympic honesty.
For all that Dallas has going for it -- a vibrantly growing city, the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area and one that is already jam-packed with existing stadium and arena facilities.
Given the fact that Asia, Europe and South America all will have held the Summer Games in the 21st century and it's sort of North America's turn -- Dallas not only has to fight the bias against the United States and the ugly memory of Atlanta's so-called T-shirt Games and the fact that our U.S. Olympic Committee has been both a dope and a patsy. but its own disastrously torrid summer climate. To hold the Olympics in the relatively milder period around the beginning of June, Dallas would need a dispensation from the IOC, which lists a weather window from July 15 to Aug. 31.
So Dallas has so much to overcome in what seems almost a quixotic quest to try and make the United States a sports destination again. Well, anyway, we can be grateful that one of our cities hasn't given up the ghost -- and if the woebegone Cowboys can't be America's team anymore, at least Dallas can be our last forlorn hope, America's dream.
Westporter Frank Deford originally aired this commentary on National Public Radio Wednesday morning. Deford's NPR sports column may be heard in Westport at WSHU. 91.1 FM or 1260 AM.