Could Miami Ever Host the Olympics? How About the Pan American Games First?
Miami is in the business of hosting major sporting events, and it's something we do pretty damn well. We've hosted more Super Bowl games than any other city, the Orange Bowl every year with the BCS, the Sony Ericcson Open, the final race of the NASCAR season, rounds of the World Baseball Classic and NCAA tournament... hell, we even hosted a tiny part of the Olympics by hosting soccer preliminaries in 1996. But could Miami play host to the whole Olympic shebang?
Chicago's loss of the 2016 Summer Games to Rio got us thinking. Now the first and third largest metropolitan areas tried and failed to secure hosting duties recently, while L.A., the second largest, has already done so twice. Why shouldn't the fourth largest metro area in America consider it? Is it possible? Our answer -- not likely, not anytime soon anyway.
The major problems: weather, money, lack of land to build new facilities, and, duh, transportation. But some of these problems could be worked around, and correcting others could be done, and whether or not we do so with an eye on one day making a serious bid for the Summer Games, they could benefit the city regardless.
In the meantime, maybe we should keep an eye on the Pan American Games. Rio supposedly impressed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by hosting that event in 2007, and considering Miami is in a lot of ways the crossroads of North America, South America and the Caribbean, we'd be a natural.
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Weather: The sweet spot for Summer Olmypics is usually in late July or August. Unfortunately for us, that falls in hurricane season, and the IOC wouldn't want to risk the threat of a storm. Hurricanes in July aren't much of a threat, but it is incredibly hot and incredibly rainy. May might be the ideal time for us to host the game, but there'd have to be an otherwise killer bid to convince a move.
Facilities: If we got Broward involved, it wouldn't be such a major problem. Between the two counties, we have AAA, LandShark, FIU Stadium, the BankAtlantic Center, the BankUnited Center, the Crandon Park Tennis Center, Marlins Stadium, and various other locations. South Beach would be an ideal place for the nautical sports and beach volleyball. A swimming complex would have to be constructed or a current one majorly expanded. The only sticking point would be an Olympic-size stadium and where and how to build it (LandShark might work in a pinch). Of course, we're talking so long-term here that by the time it actually came to pass, the Dolphins might be in the market for a new field, or at the very least the Canes would be eager for their own stadium. One could be erected, scaled back after the games, and then leased to UM. The only question is where? For the sake of keeping this theoretical, let's not go there.
Traffic: It's doubtful, save for a major revolution in technology, that Miami will ever have a world-class transportation system. As it is right now, the infrastructure can barely handle normal traffic, let alone Olympic traffic.
So yeah, maybe it's not possible (unless cities statewide came together for an unprecedented all-Florida Olympics... maybe after we got that high-speed rail system connecting Miami, Orlando, and Tampa that Obama has promising us.
What is more likely is hosting the Pan American Games. It's been discussed before, but every attempt has been derailed over the fact that we'd have to welcome the Cuban national team.
The next time we could even apply to host the Pan Am Games is 2019, and the political picture will hopefully be considerably different. America hasn't hosted the games since Indianapolis in 1987. No U.S. cities are in the race to host for 2015 (the deadline has already passed), and if Miami put together a strong bid, it wouldn't be hard to see us as a possible frontrunner.