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Grabbing for the Ring 

City officials are trying to lure the Summer Olympic Games to San Francisco for 2016. Do you think it's a good idea? Find out where you stand!

Wednesday, May 24 2006
Last week, San Francisco officials welcomed a visit from members of the U.S. Olympic Committee, in town to explore the city's interest in a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the formation of an exploratory committee to advance the city's proposal, and Peter Ueberroth, chairman of the USOC, said the organization will decide by the end of the year whether to enter an American bid or pass. In the wake of New York's disappointing defeat to London in the bid for the 2012 Games, Ueberroth said the USOC will only enter the competition if it believes the U.S. candidate city has enough international cachet to actually win. Despite the enthusiasm of Newsom and other city dignitaries, many in the Bay Area are still stinging from the 2012 rejection, when the plan was deemed too decentralized because many of the events would be held down the Peninsula. There's also the cost factor: New York spent $60 million when it lost its last bid. Are you an apologist for the 2016 San Francisco Summer Games? Take our quiz and find out!

1) At the news conference following the two-hour meeting between San Francisco officials and the USOC delegation, Newsom insisted the city was serious about advancing its proposal and said: "This is not a flight of fancy. This is not just to grab a little attention in the short term; quite the contrary." What's your response?

A) So it's the opposite of the gay marriage thing ...

B) Honestly, I think a San Francisco-themed casino in Vegas would be just as good.

C) Oh, no, nothing whimsical about this. We're talking about a serious, long-term, calculated effort to squander time, resources, and money.

2) Before arriving in San Francisco, the USOC delegation visited Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, which are also finalists for possibly hosting the 2016 Games. What advantages do you think the Bay Area has over those other cities?

A) Well, it's not Houston.

B) Two words: Robin Williams. (Bonus point for adding: And if he's out of town, Danny Glover. And if he's out of town ... oh, who are we kidding? He'll be here.)

C) We have the best steroids!

3) Are there any San Francisco-specific Olympic events that you'd suggest be included in the Games?

A) Track bike racing (because it's not like hipster fads come and go ... )

B) Beat the Olympic Congestion

C) Competitive gay brunching (the bitchiest gossip takes the gold).

4) One of the concerns about a potential Bay Area Olympic Games is the lack of suitable venues in San Francisco. Many believe that remodeling Candlestick Park into an Olympic Stadium would be necessary. Do you think the city would benefit from the building boom that would be required to serve as Olympic host?

A) As long as we can keep using faulty concrete on major civic projects, sure.

B) Oh, absolutely. Forget housing and infrastructure — we need more single-use stadiums!

C) Absolutely. And by 2016, the Bay Bridge should be about almost done.

5) Considering that New York lost $60 million in its failed bid for the 2012 Games, and Greece has also suffered financially after Athens hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics, many observers worry that the modern Olympic Games are a significant drain on public funds, and very difficult to make profitable for a city. Do you think the cost of the Games is worth the potential spike in prestige and international reputation for San Francisco?

A) Of course. You'd hate to see that money going toward food for the hungry or hospitals for the sick.

B) Hell yeah! If New York lost $60 million, we'll squander twice that much!

C) Are you kidding? If there's one thing this city doesn't have enough of, it's tourists. You can't put a price on slighting social programs in favor of attracting Europeans.

6) Athletic venues throughout the Bay Area — like the HP Pavilion in San Jose, the Event Center at San Jose State, and the Avery Aquatic Center at Stanford — are expected to be included in any proposal, although San Francisco officials are only too aware that the idea of a Peninsula-centered Olympic Games did not charm the USOC for 2012. Where do you think the Olympic village should be located?

A) Los Angeles.

B) Alcatraz. Think of how many "Olympic Village Penitentiary Swim Team" T-shirts we'd sell.

C) I dunno about the village, but I think Candlestick Park would make a perfect Olympic Stadium. It could be the first Games where the torch blows out.

7) If San Francisco did win its bid, what do you think would be a suitable motto for the Bay Area Summer Games?

A) "Sponsored by BALCO"

B) "What inferiority complex?"

C) "San Francisco: The next best thing to Ancient Greece."

How to score:

Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."

0-6 points: Yes, yes. It will be hilarious when it rains the whole time.

7-10 points: I don't know if they'd hand out medals for it, but "Costas in the Castro" would be must-see TV.

11-14 points: Congratulations! You're a true apologist for the San Francisco 2016 Summer Olympics. Who smells an earthquake?

About The Author

Matt Palmquist


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