- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2015


We just can’t get the Summer Olympics thingy right.

Is a queen sacrifice in order?

I mean, the United States has a really, really good chance to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. After all, it always has hosted the Games in even-numbered years — first in 1904, and in 1932, 1986 and 1990. Pretty good odds, then, with officials pondering which city should be fronted in 2024, eh?

Oops, that’s right, the Summer Olympics are always held in even-numbered years.

And that explains why we need to talk.

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Is being the host country and host city of the Olympics a big deal? You betcha.

You think Bostonians aren’t whooping it up?

It’s such a huge deal California stakeholders doubled down with San Francisco and Los Angeles, the only U.S. city that already has twice played host.

It also explains why D.C. has made two pitches in recent years, and probably explains why Boston, still reeling from the horrific terror attack at its annual marathon in April 2013, didn’t hesitate to put in a bid (and perhaps won the sympathy vote).

To be frank, though, I think D.C. is ignored because of the perception that it is merely a government town — which it indeed was because of its political roots.

Originally formed as a federal district of the government, by the government and for the government in 1790, the nation’s capital has become anything but. The capital long ago lost its sheen as home plate for federal workers, while it still is home to the White House, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. In other words, something becomes important because someone in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., says so.

Therein, perhaps, lies the problem.

We, America, snub our own capital.

We don’t put our own capital on par with Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Seoul, Munich, Mexico City and other capitals or world-class cities.

Hosting the Olympics — especially the summer games, which draw unbelievable crowds — has its own medal of honor. Los Angeles may be perceived by most of us as a city of glitz, glamour and gawd, but vanity is its best suit — and Angelenos wear it boldly and proudly. Hence, another Olympic front-runner.

Generally speaking, Washingtonians have to beg for world-class recognition, either by fighting off the perception that our local government is run by dirty, corrupt politicians or by fighting off the reality that the federal version comes to Washington to have ideological spats.

What a shame.

“There is no greater place to hold the Summer Olympics than the nation’s capital,” native Washingtonian Kwame Brown, the former D.C. Council member, told me on Thursday as Olympic officials deliberated. “The infrastructure is here, the pizzazz is here, the commitment is here. There’s no better place to for our national platform.

“We’ve been passed over before [as an Olympic contender] because we didn’t have the fiscal stability, infrastructure and transportation systems. That’s no longer the case,” he said.

And you know what? He is right. Everything needed to pull off the Summer Olympics can be found right here. And like the hosts of the “Family Feud” TV game show might say, “Give me Maryland, give me Virginia.”

There is no way the District could pull off the Olympics without working with Maryland and Virginia — continuing a path of necessity lain by George Washington.

I know. The potential dollar signs for such a project give you the willies.

Honestly, I’ve got them too.

Now D.C., let’s think tactics.

This is 2015. A Brand New Year. Time to make a bold move. Put in a D.C. bid before the September deadline, when the lineup will include Paris (another sympathy vote?), Istanbul and Casablanca, sans Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, of course.

Bogart, an excellent chess player, might even make a spirited suggestion, such as a spectacular queen sacrifice before those cities hit the Olympic committee’s radar screen.

Now that will surely change the perception of Washington, D.C., capital of the good ol’ U.S.A.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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