Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31: South Florida Should Start Olympic Dream With Pan Am Games

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Aside from rooting on local athletes every four years for the Summer Olympics, South Florida gets the opportunity to evaluate its own chances of hosting the world some day.

They've gotten a bit better during the past four years.

Actually, they've gotten a bit better during the past four months, with the Miami Marlins' new stadium and now the opening of the Metrorail extension to Miami International Airport.

A first logical step to South Florida's Olympic dream would be the Pan American Games and the Parapan Am Games, which Miami has already bid on a few times and will likely do so again for 2019 or 2023.

Some factors would have to change, though.

Factor 1, of course, is the situation in Cuba, which probably won't let an entire Pan Am or Olympic team come to the Miami area anytime soon. Compound that with some Florida and Miami-Dade County politicians who won't put out the welcome mat. One can only hope this issue is resolved favorably by the next decade.

Factor 2: The economy would have to improve locally, statewide and nationally.

Factor 3 is probably the most important for a successful bid at any time: Regional cooperation. In this case, a Miami bid cannot just mean the city of Miami or Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties don't even have consistent weather at times, much less consistent agreements over how to address logistical issues.

Among the four counties, there should be plenty of facilities appropriate for such a competition. There must be cooperation to match.

South Floridians already know this community can throw a party. Now's the time for elected and civic leaders to join forces to convince others that a three-week welcome to the athletes and fans across the Americas will be a successful one.

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