The Norman Transcript


April 28, 2013

Tulsa weighing 2024 summer Olympic bid



Tulsa hosted the Bassmaster Classic in February, drawing the event’s second-largest crowd ever with 106,000 people. But more than 8 million tickets were sold at the 1996 Atlanta Games, the last Summer Olympics held in the U.S., and nearly 7 million were sold at Beijing in 2008.

Smaller cities often host Winter Games, such as Lake Placid, N.Y., and Squaw Valley, Calif. But it’s far rarer for the Summer Games. St. Louis hosted the 1904 Summer Games, though it was the country’s fourth-largest city at the time.

Mavis argued that Tulsa is about the same size, infrastructure-wise, as Atlanta was in 1988, when it successfully submitted its bid for the 1996 games.

However, the Atlanta metropolitan area had about 4 million people at the time of the games — roughly the same as Oklahoma’s entire population — and was home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves.

Atlanta farmed out events to other sites in Georgia; Mavis would do the same in Oklahoma. Mavis also noted the city already has suitable venues for several sports, listing 25-plus sites for everything from badminton to the marathon to table tennis.

Clay Bird, the city’s chief economic development officer, admired the groundwork laid by Mavis and others. But he cautioned that city officials were approaching the opportunity merely to “see what’s out there” and not because they think Tulsa has a decent shot at landing the 2024 Olympics.

“I don’t want people to think that we have such rose-colored glasses on that we’re going to jump into this with everything we have and compete,” Bird said. “We believe in our community, but we don’t want to be a laughingstock. We don’t want to lose credibility.”

City Councilwoman Karen Gilbert described the prospect of Tulsa being considered to host an Olympics as “a good kind of crazy.” Two years ago, the city dreamed of obtaining a retired space shuttle — perhaps a piece of the “Altius,” part of the Olympic theme: “Citius, Altius, Fortius.”

“It’s going out there and saying, ‘We want the big stuff,”’ Gilbert said. “It doesn’t hurt to shoot for the stars, you know?”

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Board votes to delay plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Sentencing delayed for Oklahoma tea party leader

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Formal sentencing for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions has been delayed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Heat advisory issued for much of Oklahoma

    TULSA — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through late today for much of the state as stifling heat and humidity continue to affect Oklahoma this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate investigative academy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four agents are graduating from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Advanced Investigative Academy....

    July 23, 2014

  • Okla. legislator doctor wants minors quarantined

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined....

    July 23, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Highway Patrol sees spike in number of applicants

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Two bills that passed the Legislature this past spring have sparked an increase in the number of applicants to join the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, officials said....

    July 20, 2014

  • 1M visit Okla. parks

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new report from the National Parks Service shows that more than 1 million people visited Oklahoma’s national parks in 2013 and spent $17.2 million. Oklahoma has thee national parks: Washita Battlefield National Historic ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Unemployment rate falls to 4.5 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.5 percent in June. The figures released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show that while the number of Oklahomans without a ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Gay Marriage Oklahoma Court reverses ban on gay marriage

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court rulied Friday that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, spurring celebration among gay rights activists but sparking sharp anger among Republican leaders in a conservative state that ...

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo