Olympics in Detroit?

BY foxsports • February 21, 2013

The Olympics almost came to Detroit in 1968. Could the city get another shot in 2024?

Probably not, but Mayor Dave Bing's office did get a letter this week from the United States Olympic Committee, asking if the Motor City might be interested in making a bid for the 2024 games.

The letters went out to 35 cities across the country -- the top 25 in population as well as 10 others that the USOC found to be possibly interesting. California alone got five letters, while four cities in Texas made the list.

Given the city's crippled financial situation -- the governor held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the possibility of appointing an emergency manager to take over Detroit's finances -- a bid isn't going to happen.

But that wasn't the case in the 1950s and 1960s, when Detroit was a serious contender for the Summer Games. After being chosen as the American bid, Detroit made it to the final two contenders for the 1968 Games before losing to Mexico City.

Those games would have seen a 110,000-seat Olympic Stadium built on the site of the State Fairgrounds. That stadium would have almost certainly become the home of the Lions, meaning the Silverdome would have never been built.

The Olympic Village would have built at Wayne State. After the games, it would have been turned into student housing. Other events would have been held at the Olympia, Cobo Hall, Calihan Hall and a rowing course just north of Belle Isle.

A video that accompanied the bid can still be seen on YouTube. Featuring Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh and Governor George Romney, the film was submitted in 1963 -- four years after Detroit had finished a distant second to Tokyo in the voting for the 1964 Games. Detroit bid again in 1966 for the 1972 Games, but finished third behind Munich and Madrid.

Given the city's strength in the voting, it's quite possible that Detroit would have been selected over Montreal for the 1976 Games. However, the riots of 1967 and their aftermath put an end to city's participation in the bidding process.

Sadly, that's not likely to change for 2024.

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