Olympics in San Diego and Tijuana in 2024?
Will there be an Olympic Soccer gold medal match at Qualcomm? Could there be an Olympic Marathon run across the Mexican border? How about a basketball final at a renovated Sports Arena? San Diego and Tijuana announced their joint bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics recently. Newly-elected San Diego mayor Bob Filner, and outgoing Tijuana mayor Carlos Bustamante hope to foster a new spirit of cooperation between the two metropolitan areas, the two largest cities to sit astride an international border.
The rare dual-nation bid will be a dark horse, but plans are being made to present a logo and select a planning committee composed of go-getters from both countries. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked to head the committee, but declined, offering to lend advise from his experiences with the 2003 Salt Lake City winter games.
There are several hurdles that need to be jumped for the Olympics to come to America’s Finest City and its amigo to the south. One is the lack of Olympic-level sporting venues. Another is the logistics of border crossings for both spectators and participants.
The toughest obstacle is the need to change IOC rules to allow two nations to host the Summer Games. Currently, the winter games may be hosted by more than one nation under certain circumstances, but there is no such provision for the original, summertime Olympiad.
Other cities in the mix for a bid in 2024 include Los Angeles, where the 1932 and 1984 games were very successfully held; New York City; San Francisco; Philadelphia; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
San Diego has had some experience hosting major sporting events. Super Bowls in 1988, 1998 and 2003 were widely praised for their organization and, of course, location. The America’s Cup was held off of Point Loma in 1988, the only Cup race involving multi-hulled boats.
A tentative bid for the 2016 games, which have now been awarded to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, would have required $1 billion to construct or upgrade venues on both sides of the border. Included in the arenas to be used were San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium and Estadio Caliente in Tijuana. Balboa Park could be used for archery and other sports including cycling. Tennis and rowing are envisioned for Mission Bay.