Tulsa sports official, mayor say city isn’t seeking Olympic bid

Tulsa 2024
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Tulsa received plenty of attention after a New York Times story published Sunday detailed one businessman’s plan to seek a 2024 Olympic bid for the city of 400,000 people.

Two of those people — two very important people — called a news conference Tuesday to clarify the city’s stance. Tulsa Sports Commission Senior Vice President Ray Hoyt stood with city mayor Dewey Bartlett over his shoulder and delivered a clear message, according to the Tulsa Word.

“We are not actively seeking an Olympic bid,” Hoyt said. “Or supporting it.”

The Times article titled, “London. Tokyo. Athens. Tulsa? A Heartland Olympic Dream,” tells the story of electrical engineer Neil Mavis, who has been working on a Tulsa 2024 bid for five years.

“We have all the resources,” Mavis said in the article. “We just need the spark.”

Hoyt disagreed and said the Olympics may prevent the city from attracting less grand goals like Big XII championships or the NCAA tournament.

“We have to protect our credibility,” Hoyt said, according to the Tulsa World. “We don’t want to approach people about events that they know we can’t accommodate.”

Bartlett agreed.

Tulsa simply doesn’t have the population, budget or infrastructure to host the Olympics – or even to make a serious bid, he said.

“We don’t want to apologize for or throw water on Mr. Mavis’ desire to represent his city,” Bartlett said. “But we certainly don’t want it to get out of hand.”

An official bid would have to come from the host city’s mayor, according to the rules of the International Olympic Committee. So, without Bartlett’s support, the effort would seem to be at a standstill.

Tulsa 2024 bid leader: ‘We’re going to stay in the race’