- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia. For those of you back home who actually believe the Baltimore-Washington Regional Coalition has a chance to bring the Olympics there, dream on.

And for those of you who fear that the coalition could bring the Olympics there, relax. You have nothing to worry about.

There won't be an Olympics to host by 2012.

The Games are on the verge of collapsing under their own weight. It's just too much too much money, too much corruption, too much drug use, too much fear.

The Olympic spirit within Sydney Olympic Park here at Homebush Bay, about 20 miles outside of the city, consists of fear.

The park is an armed camp. There was a plot unearthed last month about plans by terrorist to blow up a nuclear reactor. It is clear, just by the barriers, fences and soldiers, that organizers are afraid something will happen.

If the Olympics continue like this, there will be more than enough facilities in the Washington-Baltimore region to host Olympic events Lorton, Jessup, Hagerstown and any other prison within reach of the two cities.

That's what the park resembles a giant prison with one heck of an exercise yard. Unfortunately it's an unsafe exercise yard. Within a mile of the park is one of Australia's most polluted sites. The soil in the area is filled with the toxic dioxin.

They are worried about athletes using human growth hormones to enhance performance. They may have to test athletes after they leave the Olympics for fear of inhuman growth hormones.

Terrorism may be the most serious threat to the Games, but it's not the only one. I'm beginning to think that Atlanta took a bad rap for the troubles it had in 1996. No one can manage the Olympics anymore, it's simply an overwhelming task.

Bus service here is already on the brink of disaster. A week ago, more than 600 volunteer Olympic drivers pulled out of the games. That forced organizers to start a massive recruiting drive for anyone who would be willing to drive a bus.

As a result, there are a lot of people driving buses who aren't bus drivers and have never driven on a Sydney street. Athletes have missed practices because buses didn't show up or drivers got lost on the way to the practice. Even the Sultan of Smugness himself, Juan Antonio Samaranch, missed a meeting because a bus he was waiting for never arrived.

A spokesman for Sydney Olympic organizers said "human error" was the cause for Samaranch's missed bus. But no human could handle this massive undertaking not even Ralph Kramden.

No human could, with a straight face or a sane mind, believe that bringing this orgy of excess to the Washington-Baltimore area would be a good thing. However, you can be sure the 2012 Coalition otherwise known as the "Insane Clown Posse" will do its best to convince everyone that they could deal with all the problems.

Sydney deserves better than this. It is a wonderful city with friendly people who are smart enough not to get too excited about the Olympics. The Olympic buzz in Sydney is simply the sound of bus gears grinding.

Of course, the people of Sydney will be paying, and paying, and paying for these Games. The government recently had to come up with an additional $84 million for expenses, this just days after officials declared the games had been paid in full.

Olympic supporters argue that the games generate millions of dollars in business that more than offset the costs. But hotels in and around Sydney have vacancies and businesses, that invested in expanding to prepare for the games, are losing huge sums of money. One owner of a guest house told the Australian that less than half his rooms are booked. "If I were young, I'd be looking for a harbor bridge to jump off," the guest house owner said.

One businessman said it was the "repulsion" factor that was keeping people away.

There's your Olympic spirit.

The games may survive Sydney, but then what about 2004 in Athens? Sydney is hardly a hotbed of terrorist activity, but Australia has probably enacted the greatest domestic security measures the country has seen in recent memory.

What happens in Athens where the airport, until recently, was considered a hotbed for terrorism and crime and was declared unsafe by the U.S. State Department. Athens is a short distance from places whose people think firebombing is a medal event?

What kind of security can we expect for the 2004 games? Souvenir gas masks?

Of course, there may not be any reason to worry about terrorism if no one can get to the events. No one knows how many buses there are in Greece, but in Australia buses from all over the country have converged on the city and there are still not enough. Athens may have to import buses. If Metro bus service in Washington is slow during the 2004 games, you'll know why.

But will there be any athletes left to compete after the drug testing crackdown? If they test for anything in 2004, it should be for sanity.

There will be some wonderful Olympic moments in Sydney. There will be athletes who capture our hearts with their strength and courage. There will be exciting events and historic performances.

But sometimes the juice just ain't worth the squeezing.

Reportedly, more than 100,000 condoms have been ordered for competitors to use here. They should have ordered one giant one to cover the city as well. It is the people of Sydney who need protection.

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