Wednesday, July 06, 2005

London to Host 2012 Olympic Games: New Yorkers keep stiff upper lips

Note RE: Use of NYC 2012 Logo - Tolliver is a registered NYC2012 volunteer

by L. Tolliver, D. Hargrove and D. Myers
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY - We New Yorkers know it ain't over 'til it's over. And it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.

Unfortunately, Her Voluptuousness has been vocalizing overtime in Gotham City. Last year, she sang when the Red Sox beat the Yankees, breaking the curse of the Bambino. Last month, she crooned when Mayor Bloomberg’s bid to build a $2 billion stadium on the West Side of Manhattan was scuttled—plucking the jewel from the crown of NYC2012’s proposal. This morning, she sounded reveille, rudely awakening NYC2012 supporters from their pipe dream to host the 2012 Olympics. Channeling the blues through the announcer of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) verdict, she belted from Singapore: “The city of New York will not be participating in the next round.” The coda: London was named host city.

Fellow fans of the CBS-TV hit Survivor surely experienced the votes as I did, picturing Olympic torches extinguishing each time the tribe (read IOC) spoke. Nyet!" ousted Moscow. "Fuggedaboudit!" booted the Big Apple. "Adios!" removed Madrid. "Mais non!" fried Paris. In light of that Singapore slingfest, I'm glad I didn't attend the NYC2012 event (described in the invitation as a "victory celebration”) in Rockefeller Center last night. Standing outside in the storm watching a Jumbotron broadcast the IOC vote would have been morbid, and too reminiscent of the many wakes I’ve attended lately.

In contrast, Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s 1985 duet, “Dancin’ in the Street,” describes the Brits’ behavior since this morning. That’s when they learned the 2012 Olympics had been voted onto their island. London last hosted the Games in 1948.

England’s selection was no shock, Sherlock; many media wonks had predicted London or Paris would win the Games. (In contrast, bookies had widely missed the mark, calculating 7:1 odds against London, according to Today Show reports on NBC this morning.) Bottom line: those imperialist nations across the big pond might have lost the American colonies two centuries ago, but they roundly trounced us revolutionaryYanks in the battle for 2012. Gracious in defeat, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC2012 Founder and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff congratulated London and said New York had benefited from bidding despite being eliminated early on.

Several obvious factors likely stole home from New York. One is the fact that four Olympic Games have been hosted in the USA. Perhaps more importantly, the West Side Stadium shutout fiasco, the dysfunctional dynamics surrounding it, and the resulting mad scramble to feature Olympic venues that New York City could actually offer would have driven even Batman and Robin to flee Gotham City. Picture their batmobile trailing burned rubber and cries of “Holy Cow!" (a la Yankee Great Phil Rizzuto).

Gotham's real-life Dynamic Duo--Bloomberg and Doctoroff--and the NYC2012 team made valiant efforts. However, despite feedback that the New Yorkers threw their best pitch, the Yanks’ Madison Avenue-quality, celebrity-endorsed proposal to host the upcoming Games was too little, too late. NYC2012 struck out.

Maybe that outcome’s for the best. It’s not clear that hosting the 2012 games would turn a profit, and the USA—and New York in particular—are still shaking dust off their cleats from the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, from the soft economy that preceded them and from financing the War on Terror. Moreover, we’ve got other balls in the air, such as a 9/11 memorial to build in TriBeCa and NYC stadium plans to resolve. Maybe over the next four years we’ll step up to the plate again, and hit a grand slam to win the Games.

Meanwhile, I’m phoning my college suite-mate and Lisa Tolliver Show film correspondent, Cheryl Dixon, to reserve my room at her family’s London digs for 2012. Next step: finding suitable lodging for the 2006 XXth Olympic Winter Games in London. ###