Wednesday, August 12, 2020


When I wrote last week about the recurring scam of trying to convince cities to host the Olympics — and the economic ruin that usually follows those that do — I left out a part that was close to home: Washington, D.C.’s flirtation with the Games.

Twice in the past 20 years, a gang of politicians, business and media leaders have tried to shove the corruption of the Olympics down the throats of taxpayers, and thankfully failed. The city lost bids to host the 2012 and 2024 games.

Last week, I described the pain Tokyo is still facing if indeed the postponed 2020 Games they were scheduled to host come off in 2021 — at least $25 billion in reported cost overruns. If they don’t — if the virus and its residual damage cancel the games, period, you’ll need a few Casio calculators to figure out those losses.

So how would you like to be the city holding the bag to host the 2024 Olympics? Good luck Los Angeles. That could have been Washington.

The only upside if Washington had been awarded the 2012 or 2024 Olympics? It would have likely led to a path for a new stadium for the Washington Football Team in the District — if you consider that an upside.

Hosting Olympics means building stadiums and arenas. District Mayor Anthony Williams told me at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City that their bid to host the 2012 Games included plans for a new 85,000-seat stadium at the RFK site — which he said they would use to lure the football team back to the city.

“I’ve told [team owner] Dan Snyder this,” Williams said. “I would like to build a first-rate, premier track and field facility where we could hold some of the best track and field events in the world, the best soccer events in the world, and one day host the Washington Redskins back in our hometown. That’s my dream.”

That was still the dream when city officials and business leaders tried the swindle again when the city bid on the 2024 Olympics.

There were even hopes for a new arena on the RFK campus for Ted Leonsis and his Monumental Sports empire (Leonsis was a vocal supporter of the bid that fell short).

Now the District has jumped in the cesspool to host the 2026 World Cup — a bid awarded by FIFA, the soccer mob outfit that awards the World Cup.

“When the tournament comes to North America, it only makes sense for D.C. — the Sports Capital and District of Champions — to host,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release issued last month. “We are already a city united by the game, and in 2026, we look forward to uniting the world.”

Typically, this means a new stadium. That’s part of the grift perfected by FIFA. Brazil is littered with empty stadiums built to host the 2014 World Cup matches.

Not this time. I’ve been assured privately by District officials that there is no hidden D.C. stadium in the plans for the 2026 World Cup proposal. The Washington bid before the committee centers on the home of the Washington Football Team — FedEx Field.

Does that mean that Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder, in his futile quest for a new stadium, has resigned himself to staying at FedEx Field?

If Washington’s bid were to be accepted, it would mean that changes would have to be made to the stadium to accommodate hosting a World Cup title game, including expanding the seating capacity back up to 80,000.

That’s a lot of work for a stadium that would be one year away from its lease running out with Maryland and Prince Georges County.

What are the chances of FedEx Field hosting a World Cup championship?

The honorary chairman of the bid committee is New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He’s seen the debacle that is FedEx Field in person a few times.

Hear Thom Loverro Tuesdays and Thursdays on The Kevin Sheehan Podcast and Wednesdays on Chad Dukes Vs. The World on 106.7 The Fan.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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