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Tulsa 2024 bid leader: ‘We’re going to stay in the race’

Jul 1, 2013, 8:00 AM EST

Tulsa Olympic Dreams AP

The New York Times profiled the surprise 2024 Olympic bid from Tulsa, Okla., where bid leader Neil Mavis delivered this money quote:

“We don’t have an answer yet for water polo,” he said. “But one thing we do have is plenty of land out here in Oklahoma.”

The Times reported at least eight of the 35 cities the United States Olympic Committee reached out to in February have expressed a desire to submit a bid for 2024. They include major metros such as Los Angeles and Boston. And then there’s Tulsa, somewhere around the 50th most populous city in the U.S. with about 400,000 residents.

The U.S. hasn’t hosted an Olympics since 2002 (since 1996 for Summer Games) and is in the middle of its longest stretch between hosting Olympics since 1932 to 1960. A revenue-sharing agreement between the USOC and IOC last year will help U.S. bid prospects, but it will not host its next Olympics until at least 2024.

The USOC will decide by the end of 2014 if it will make a bid for 2024, and, if so, which city it will choose. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host of the 2024 Games in 2017.

Some details from the story:

• The Olympic torch would be carried through the Trail of Tears route.

• Mavis, an electrical engineer, bought copies of Atlanta’s 1996 bid on eBay for research.

• The main media center would sit at the feet of Tulsa’s famous “Golden Driller,” with medals hanging from the statue’s neck.

• Tulsa would aim to host the Games before July, earlier than any Olympics since 1924.

“Some people think I’m the village idiot,” Mavis told The Times. “We’re going to stay in the race. There’s no reason to give up.”

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