Few Twin Cities residents are aware that Minnesota has bid to host the Summer Olympics five times. It nearly succeeded in 1947, when Minneapolis-St. Paul finished runner-up to Helsinki to host the 1952 games. The Twin Cities were also runner-up to Atlanta as the US candidate city for the 1996 Summer Games.
Minneapolis has been cited as one of the top 5 candidate cities for 2020, and the organizing committee can learn from New York City (2012) and Chicago’s (2016) recent unsuccessful bids. An enthusiastic Twin Cities resident has created an unofficial website supporting the bid, complete with stories highlighting the area’s attributes, blog posts discussing possible athletic venue sites, mock-ups of potential logos, and even a Twitter account and Facebook fan page you can join to support the bid.
From a business standpoint, would hosting the Olympics be a good move? Evidence from past Olympic Games is mixed. The city of Los Angeles made a significant profit as host of the 1984 Summer Games, while Atlanta put itself on the map as a world-class city and upgraded its infrastructure to host the games in 1996. However, the last three summer hosts (Sydney, Athens, and Beijing) appear to have spent millions of dollars on venues that now sit unused.
What do you think? Do you want to see the Metrodome converted into an Olympic stadium, marathon runners winding through downtown and rowers competing on Lake Minnetonka? Or are years of construction and security preparations more trouble than they’re worth?