Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another Open Letter to Janet Evans About the 2024 Olympics

Four months ago today, I wrote an open letter to Olympic swimming champion Janet Evans, in her capacity as Vice Chair of the Athletes Commission for Los Angeles' bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, explaining why I thought that such a bid was a spectacularly bad idea.  Now that we've had an election with an outcome  just as spectacularly bad, I now go back, Jack, and do it again.
Dear Janet:
Yes, it's me again.  You might remember that back in July I told you that getting the Olympic Games awarded to Los Angeles for 2024 was a lousy idea, right?  And you're probably still optimistic that you and your fellow denizens of metropolitan LA can bring the Games to the City of Angels.  Well, in light of the fact that Donald Trump has just been elected President of the United States . . . sorry, Janet, it's not going to happen.  No one on the International Olympic Committee, I'm certain, wants to award the Games to a city in a nation that just chose a racist, immigrant-bashing carnival barker as its leader.
Yes, Janet, I know there's no precedent for such a rejection of an Olympic bid.  I am aware that New York's unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Olympics had nothing to do with George Walker Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq,  and that it was over a revenue-sharing dispute with the United States Olympic Committee, and that Chicago lost its 2016 Olympics bid for that reason also.  But this is different, Janet.  Donald Trump is an arrogant xenophobe and a pig-ignorant B.S. artist.  You know how Democrats in Washington are wary of working with Trump because they don't want to "normalize" his Presidency?  Well, how many people in the Olympic movement would normalize him as a leader by letting an American city host the Games?  By September 2017, which  is when the 2024 Games will be awarded to a city, Trump may very well have started a war in the Middle East, rejected the Paris agreement on climate change, caused an international crisis over trade, and possibly destabilized the Baltic States.  Okay, he may not end up doing a deed as extreme as any of those, but he's going to do something to tick the world off.  He already has, in fact; he won the election.  Janet, don't you think that the International Olympic Committee would like to punish the United States for letting a Trump Presidency happen?  
Yes, Janet, I know Hillary Clinton carried your home state of California, and that she probably won Los Angeles itself by a wide margin.  I am aware also that she even carried Orange County, where you were born and raised and still reside, even though Orange County is known for its right-wing nut-jobs.  And yes, I know Hillary won the popular vote nationwide.  But none of that matters, because Donald Trump is still going to be President.  To the world, he is America now.  The Olympics are all about fostering peace and brotherhood in the world and rising above nationalism.  Trump is not about to do either of those things, and so awarding the Olympics to an American city in this negative shadow that Trump is casting would seem like kind of a crazy idea to the potentates who run the Olympic movement.
And yes, Janet, I know that the 2024 Olympiad is so far off that Trump may not be a factor, because it's likely that Trump will only be a one-term President and be gone by January 2021.  But we don't really know that, do we?  He could very well win a second term. Why would the International Olympic Committee want to take a chance of giving LA the Games with the possibility - nay, the specter - of Trump being around as President in 2024 to officially declare the Los Angeles Games open?  Oh, it will be a disaster if that happens.  He'll make vulgar comments about the synchronized swimmers.  He'll make sexist comments about the participants in women's track and field.  And do you think any foreign Olympic teams will feel welcome, or even safe, in an America run by Donald Trump - even if he's in his last year of office?  Though I'm sure he'd be very welcoming to the Russian team, despite their steroid-use history, when they're coming into Los Angeles.  (And he wouldn't let Mr. Customs Man touch their bags, either.)                
Oh yeah, one other thing: Trump just said something that may have doomed LA's Olympic bid.  He says he backs it. 
Well, Janet, I've made my case, but I'm not about to tell you to abandon what I feel is a quixotic exercise in bringing the Games back to the States for 2024.  All I'm saying is that you shouldn't expect LA to win the bid, and that you're going to be very disappointed.  In fact, I'm willing to bet that, after Trump won, you knew that LA's chances for the 2024 Olympics went down the tubes.  But I'm sure you'll take the loss like the champion you are.  Win a few, lose a few, they always say.
You know I still love you, right?
Steven Maginnis
P.S.  I noted with some levity your comment that you hid a Wheaties box with your picture on it to keep your son from eating the cereal inside.  Given the recent discovery of remnants of glyphosate - a carcinogenic herbicide - in cereals like Wheaties, which contains 31.2 parts per billion of the stuff, that was a very wise decision.   

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