What About the Summer Olympics Coming to Jacksonville?

Feb 25, 2013 -- 11:24am


The United States Olympic Committee has sent letters to 35 cities asking them to make bids to host the 2024 Summer Games. Jacksonville is one of them.

Can you hear the snickering? As soon as the letter arrived in Jacksonville the mocking from the national media began.

Sound familiar? They’re the same tired old jokes about Jacksonville we heard back in 1979 when then Mayor Jake Godbold said the city was going after an NFL franchise. They’re the same tired old jokes about Jacksonville we heard in 2001 when then Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said the city was going after being the host city for the 2005 Super Bowl.

I’m not suggesting Jacksonville will host the 2024 Summer Games. I’m not certain it would even be a good thing for our city.

But I am telling those who are making a mockery out of Jacksonville as a potential host city for the Olympics to take a look at our history. We’re pretty good at ignoring the jokes and beating the odds.

Exactly why Jacksonville is the butt of so many jokes has been a mystery to me ever since we cleaned up those stinking paper mill odors 30 years ago.

We have two of the most wonderful resort areas in the country in Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra Beach. We have a beautiful ocean and a magnificent river. Admittedly we’re more South Georgia than Florida, but what’s wrong with that? South Georgia is a pretty special place as well, offering Savannah and St. Simon Island.

Jacksonville offers great golfing and fishing. It’s tough to beat our weather. (Unlike many Florida cities, most hurricanes avoid us.) Our cost of living is reasonable by most large city standards. I often hear we lack quality restaurants, but that’s absurd. There’s plenty of culture if you take time to look for it.

Sure, our crime rate is a problem, but what large city doesn’t have a problem? I wish our educational system was better, but I can say the same thing about our nation’s educational system.

I’ve lived here for 36 years, not because I had to but because I chose to. I ignored the snickering back in 1979 when there was talk of Jacksonville getting an NFL franchise. I saw the possibility of that dream coming true. You can look it up. I never had serious doubts about Weaver getting our city the Super Bowl – and, despite the criticism, I thought Jacksonville was a fine host city. I find it laughable how ignorant and lazy the critics are who continue to rip our city’s poor support of our NFL franchise. There are plenty of NFL cities with bigger problems than Jacksonville. Do the research.

I don’t think Jacksonville will get the 2024 Summer Games. Not because we couldn’t handle them, but because I’m not sure we want them.

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