Is Atlanta ready for another Olympics?

Atlanta Summer Games

It’s funny how our fair city isn’t suitable to host a Super Bowl, yet the U.S. Olympic Committee just keeps calling.

On Tuesday, the USOC sent letters to mayors of 35 cities to gauge their interest on possibly hosting the 2024 Summer Games. One of those mayors who got a Golden Ticket was Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The letters are not a guarantee that the U.S. will send a city to the final vote, let alone be a frontrunner to win the bid, but as WXIA in Atlanta reported, this is the first step in finding the right American city for a potential bid.

Atlanta, having hosted a Summer Games, would have to be a consideration for a finalist if Reed were to show interest. The final vote won’t take place for another four years.

Hosting the Olympics is always great for a city, but is Atlanta ready to give it another go, just 28 years after the first time they hosted the Summer Games? The first thing that jumps to mind is the list of facilities that no longer exist (or have been transformed in the last 17 years) that were crucial for the 1996 Games. For one, Fulton County Stadium is gone, and the stadium used for the big track events and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies is now Turner Field. So a separate Olympic Stadium would have to be built. Could that go in the area of the vacant Georgia Dome, should the Falcons decide to build a new stadium?

What about the buildings where the athletes stayed? Those are now occupied by Georgia Tech students — there’d have to be a new village for them.

Not to mention the urging of past mayor Andrew Young, who says Reed should pass on the 10-year commitment that is the Olympic Games. If the man who helped bring the ’96 Games to Atlanta says he wouldn’t do it again, should that be a problem?

But even considering all the issues, I absolutely think the city should pursue another Summer Games. From what I remember (I was nine years old the last time we hosted the Olympics), it was a great month that brought one of the best international events to town. It was too bad one man had to make his political statement at the event, but the Olympics were a great memory for me.

Let’s go for it, Mayor Reed.

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