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Revisionist History: The 2012 New York Olympics

This should have been New York's Olympics.

This is not a knock on London, but London isn't New York. Hell,I live in Beijing, home of the vastly-superior 2008 Olympics, and I can tell you that Beijing is no New York. The Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made of has London beat in every category except "average number of days with rainfall" and "number of abbeys."

After underwhelming the world with his opening ceremony, director Danny Boyle had the balls to say that he felt relieved because "nobody could top Beijing." Well I got News for you, Slumdog, New York director Martin Scorcese could have topped Beijing with a single actor: master thespian and living embodiment of the Big Apple, Mr. Joe Pesci.

Picture it: a bar setup at the center of the Olympic Stadium. The lights come on, and Joe Pesci is sitting with the head of the International Olympic Committee...

Pesci: "Mr. Chairman, why you gotta be breakin' my balls, talkin' 'bout the Olympics ain't gonna come to New York?"

IOC Chairman: "Joe, if I wanted to break your balls, I'd tell you to go home and get your shine box. A guy used to be able to get a good shine in this town...and New York made a lot of money, too."

Pesci: "No more shines, Mr. IOC Chairman. You been gone a long time, maybe nobody went up there and told you, New York don't shine shoes no more."

IOC Chairman: "Calm down, Joe, I'm just breakin' your balls. This is the Olympics, here. We're all about peace and love and havin' a good time, and I'm breakin' your balls a little bit ... -dramatic pause- ... NOW GO HOME AND GET YOUR FUCKING SHINE BOX!"

Joe: "YOU MOTHERFUCKER!"


Suddenly, Robert DeNiro, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz, Kerri Strug and Jesse Owens' grandchildren appear out of nowhere to help Joe beat the IOC Chairman into a coma. They toss the chairman into the trunk of Joe's Caddy, and he drives it up a ramp and into the Olympic cauldron. Cue the explosion. Torch lit, let the games begin.

Alas, it is only a dream.

This article from Grantland starts off by taking a revisionist look at the sporting events leading up to the hypothetical 2012 New York Olympics. The writer's take seems hilariously off-base to me: the Giants, disheartened by the Jets' new West Side stadium, don't reach either of their two recent Super Bowls, and the Knicks, led by Lebron James, win the 2012 NBA championship.

First, I don't think jealousy of another team's stadium has even caused a team to lose football games. Let's go back and listen to the revisionist version of Michael Strahan's pregame speech before the 2008 NFC title game:

"Screw it, guys. I'm cold and the Jets have a better stadium anyway. Let's forfeit."

As for Lebron, haven't people given up on this pipe dream already, or is this just another poor attempt to rub our noses in The Decision. In hindsight, the Lebron-to-Miami move looks completely and utterly inevitable. This city is what Lebron always wanted - a douche kingdom fit for a King. The city fits him like the pink boots fit this d-bag Heat fan...

Boots-guy_medium

via cdn.tss.uproxx.com


The article really hits its stride when it describes the machinations behind the failure of the New York bid in 2005. One of the keys to the failure of the bid was the failure to fund the West Side stadium project, which would have held the Olympics and the Jets. I remember the stadium project falling through but I never found out why.

"Then Jim Dolan got involved."

That sentence has become the sports equivalent of the movie trailer record scratch sound effect - everything is running smoothly and normally when suddenly - record scratch - zany, embarassing hijinks ensue.

"Donny Walsh spent two years clearing away cap-killing contracts, setting the Knicks up for the future...then Jim Dolan got involved."

"The Knicks had all the leverage in the Carmelo Anthony trade negotiations...then Jim Dolan got involved."

"The kindly old veterinarian told the girl her puppy was blind, but he could fix the puppy's eyesight with a simple surgery, free of charge...then Jim Dolan got involved."

"In 2004, his company, Cablevision, which owns the Knicks, Rangers, and Madison Square Garden, began advertising against the stadium. One study found that Cablevision spent $22.1 million on anti-stadium advertisements - more than the Olympic planning committee spent advertising its entire bid. The attacks worked. On June 6, 2005, one month before the bid was to be presented to the IOC, the state's two most powerful legislators, Sheldon Silver and Joseph Bruno, rejected a request for $300 million in state funding. The Olympics were left without a stadium."

Astonishing. Remember this the next time anyone tries to defend a Dolan move on the grounds of fiscal responsibility. The guy spent more money lobbying against a stadium then the Olympic bid committee spent lobbying on the whole shebang.

First of all, regardless of your political beliefs, I'm sure most of you can agree that big-time political lobbying is usually a dick move, pursued by dicks for dickish ends. The writer doesn't even bother speculating on Dolan's motives. This wasn't a rival arena, it was a football stadium. Usually when a sports franchise lobbies against a nearby stadium for a different sport, the motive usually boils down to parking. But that doesn't make any sense for MSG. Was Dolan worried about revenue from lost concerts, or circuses, or Republican national conventions? Or had he, in the words of Whalen Smithers, "crossed that line between regular villainy and cartoonish super-villainy." I guess we'll find out whenever he carries out his plan to block out the sun.

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