Birmingham’s Mayor Larry Langford said Friday he is putting together a committee so that Birmingham Alabama can bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Langford said at the opening ceremony of the Alabama Sports Festival in Birmingham, “why not Birmingham? —That’s my question. You don’t know what you can do till you try it. We’ve got everything it takes to make it work”.
He said the committee will evaluate all available athletic facilities in Birmingham and neighbouring cities in making the application, reports the Birmingham News. By 2020, the mayor envisions that all the city projects, including an indoor track and Olympic-sized swimming facilities at Fair Park, and a domed stadium would be completed. Langford said, “that’s the beauty of a 12-year planning period”.
Like Atlanta, host of the 1996 Games, and other host cities, Langford said Birmingham would undertake a massive building campaign to prepare to host the world. He said, “we are an international city. The whole world looks at Birmingham either in a positive light or a negative light”. The Games would positively change the image of the city, he said.
According to the Birmingham News, in 2005 State Rep. John Rogers had the idea of bringing the Games to Birmingham as he lobbied for funding for a domed stadium at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
Louis Marino, a University of Alabama business professor who studies business-government relationships and partnerships reportedly said, “the primary obstacle is having the sufficient infrastructure to support the Olympic Games. Could it happen? Yes. Is it likely to happen? No. But that shouldn’t stop one from dreaming”.
He said infrastructure including upgrades at the Birmingham International Airport, mass transportation improvements, and additional hotels are all needed to support the Games. The costs are high and money is tight, said Marino. “Given the time frame that we’re shooting for, I don’t think it’s one that we could really achieve”.