In a decision that has shocked observers worldwide, the Finger Lakes Region has been selected to host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.
To land the Olympics, the Finger Lakes beat out bids from Rome, Buenos Aires, Moscow and Scranton. And in the end, it appears that the region won the bid for the games because they offered a scaled down, simple and cost effective option – the exact opposite of what the other cities were proposing.
Budget Realities Require a New Olympic Dynamic
It is no secret that the recent summer Olympic Games have been financial disasters for the host countries – Athens, London and most recently Rio have caused significant turmoil as they drained billions of dollars from the coffers of the host countries. And with TV advertising dollars dwindling, the upcoming games in Tokyo (2020), Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028) are projected to each lose billions of dollars that the host cities simply don’t have. This means that the games that used to put billions of dollars into the account of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are now projected to put the organization on the brink of bankruptcy by 2032. While no one knew the scale of the problem until recently, the only solution to put the games back into the black (and some would say to enrich the IOC members themselves) was to significantly scale back the cost of the games.
Cornell Students Make a Discovery, and a Bid is Submitted
The Finger Lakes bid to host the games came together as the result of information that came out of a Cornell sports business class. Students were working on a project for professor Mark S. Pitts where they were asked to estimate the costs and revenue of the next 3 summer Olympic Games – and they quickly realized that future games were unsustainable – for both the host cities and the IOC. And when the students asked an IOC member during a skype interview what city might win the 2032, the forlorn looking gentleman glumly stated “whoever comes up with the cheapest bid”.
Within hours the students were working with state and local officials on a bid for the games, with former Trumansburg track star Lewis Carl taking chairmanship of the Finger Lakes Olympic Committee (FLOC). It is not Carl’s first time helping to lead a major event – in 2016 he served as Vice Treasurer of the Tompkins County Veterans Day Parade Committee, and from 2009-2014 he organized the 3rd grade mystery reader program at Michael elementary school in Phelps, NY. Governor Cuomo is said to have placed dozens of phone calls to help garner support from IOC member nations, and was seen celebrating with his family shortly after the announcement was made.
With a final bid that required just $3.25 million in taxpayer funds, the games will truly be unlike any other Olympic Games in memory.
Smaller Venues, More Authentic Atmospheres
The FLOC bid hinged on the ability to leverage as many existing venues as possible for the games, which means in 2032 world class athletes will be seen at local colleges, high schools and in some cases – neighborhood back yards. While the Finger Lakes venues couldn’t be further from the billion dollar “birds nest” stadium of Beijing, they are certainly more authentic and true to the original meaning of the Olympic games.
Swimming: Most swimming events will be held in the Cornell natatorium, while water polo is tentatively scheduled to be played in the unique environs of lock 4 on the Seneca-Cayuga Canal.
Track and Field: Finals for the track and field events will be held at Finger Lakes Community College, while the preliminary heats will occur at Waterloo Middle School.
White Water Kayaking: Potentially the most exciting (and dangerous) venue for the games, the kayaking events will be held in the upper portion of Taughannock creek, with the course ending with the 80 foot drop of Taughannock falls.
Badminton: The Badminton finals will be played in the backyard of the Pennewicz family in Penn Yan. House rules will apply – any birdie hitting the weeping willow is automatically out of play – automatic redo.
Ping Pong: The Hobart infraternity council has graciously offered the use of the ping pong tables at Delta Chi and Sig Ep for the tournament.
Above: The Pennewicz family backyard in Penn Yan – site of the 2032 Badminton finals.
A Controversial Solution for Housing the Expected 261,000 Tourists
One of the major challenges for the games will be where to put the expected 261,000 visitors coming from around the world to watch the competitions. In total, the Finger Lakes region only has 21,000 hotel rooms, and even expanding as far as Buffalo and Albany the capacity is well below the requirements. The solution as it stands today is for the State of New York to force all residents of the region to vacate their homes for the month of August 2032 and the newly created State Olympic Air B&B Authority (SOABBA) will manage the rental of each home, paying owners 7.5% of the amount collected. To help offset the inconvenience, residents will be given complimentary tickets to the finals of the Women’s Speedwalking event that will be held at the Finger Lakes Mall.
And while tourists will be staying in local homes, the Athletes will be staying at dorms at Cornell University. Plans are already well underway for designs of the already names “FLX 2032 Gluten-Free, Organic, Free Range, Vegan Judgement-Free Athlete’s Village”.
Local Businesses are Thrilled
The financial boon to the region from the games cannot be understated – 261,000 tourists over the course of 3 weeks will have a huge impact on businesses of all types. Seth Olney, owner of The Olney Place Deli and Market on Keuka lake couldn’t be more thrilled with the Olympics coming to the region. “If things go right, I just might have all the approvals I need to use my tap room and deck by 2032 – and I would love to introduce my famous Rachel Sandwich to visitors from across the world”.
Public Comment Period is Open
While the decision for the games to come to the region is set in stone, some of the details are still up for discussion. The state is taking comments on the details of the plans. If you have thoughts, comments, or suggestions – please email State Senator Donni Mazuli at email@example.com
(Originally posted 4/1/2018 – April Fools!)