Keep the Olympics rings away from ‘Bama
By By Leada Gore, Editor
No, I can’t. I grew up in Birmingham and I love the city. There are wonderful parts of Birmingham, from great restaurants and shopping to the old houses and shops downtown. But the Olympics? How in the world?
If you remember several years ago when Atlanta hosted the summer games, there were numerous reports of struggles the city went through to prepare for the influx of visitors from all over the world. Atlanta – with its mass transit system, sports venues and myriad of hotels – struggled to accommodate the crowds. And, if Birmingham’s leaders haven’t noticed – they don’t have mass transit, sports venues or tons of hotel space.
It appears, however, Birmingham’s Mayor Larry Langford is serious. He’s forming a committee to study the possibilities with the hopes of making a formal bid. Since he’s so serious, I feel it’s incumbent upon the rest of the state to join in the effort.
Opening ceremonies could be held in Wetumpka, home of Jasmine Hill Gardens with a replica of the Temple of Hera from Olympia, Greece. Then, we could take the Olympic torch up to Clanton and use the peach water tower to keep the eternal flame aloft.
Down south, we could use the sand at the famed Flora Bama to host the wrestling events and perhaps introduce “mullet tossing” as an Olympic sport. Further north, we could veer over to Lake Martin and Alex City where we could stage the diving events. We could use Chimney Rock for diving, at least if the water level is up.
Point Mallard would be perfect for the swimming competition, that is if you don’t mind doing the 50-meter relay in a wave pool. And Hartselle could contribute, too. We’d let the Olympic teams use our baseball facilities, as long as they promise they won’t mess up our fields or anything.
And Birmingham itself? The options there are endless. You could use Legion Field for track and field events, as long as you don’t mind paying $25 to park in someone’s front yard. You could use the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center for gymnastics and I’m sure a bowling alley or two would cancel league night for Olympic bowling. You could host ping pong at the Riverchase Galleria.
Dumb you say? No dumber than this: Birmingham’s Mayor Larry Langford summed up his Olympic dreams by saying, “Birmingham in 2020: Why not?”
Why not? Some questions don’t deserve an answer.