MINNEAPOLIS, M.N. (WCCO) A week from this Friday on August 5 the world will be watching the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics 2016.
One individual that will likely pay close attention is president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, Melvin Tennant.
If the summer games were to ever come to Minneapolis, his group would pretty much oversee the bidding process. They’ve helped secure the Super Bowl, The Final Four and now the X Games in the City of Lakes.
“I think we are at the same place a number of other Olympic cities were when they began the bid process,” said Tennant about Minneapolis.
Back in 2013, Minneapolis got a letter asking about their interest in hosting the Summer Olympic Games, but Mayor R.T. Rybak at the time respectfully declined. Tennant says it wasn’t good timing.
“We were very much in the midst of the stadium debate, and then the ultimate project,” said Tennant. “When the stadium became a reality we knew we would be going after the Super Bowl, Final Four, we didn’t know at that time we would be working to secure an X Games.”
Needless to say Meet Minneapolis and the city had a lot on their plate in 2013. But now U.S. Bank Stadium is up, there’s a light rail connecting both cities, new hotels, a sports medicine facility in the heart of downtown and other improvements and construction underway like Target Center.
Also, Minnesota has amenities like 10,000 lakes to hold swimming and sailing events. Tennant says the Twin Cities is a facility-rich community and it gives them a great foundation on which to really have a conversation about the games.
“I know some Olympics are very, very spread out,” said Tennant. “If it were a Summer Olympics we would have a fairly compact foot print to work with.”
So, has the timing improved to place a bid for a Summer Olympics?
“There’s a lot on our plate right now. I think it’s good that we don’t have an Olympics to have to worry about at this point,” Tennant said with a giggle.
Los Angeles has put together an exploratory committee to bring the games to their city in 2024. Tennant wishes them well, but that doesn’t mean it’s something he would not consider for Minneapolis in the future.
“My personal opinion is I would like for us to get through the major events that we have in place,” said Tennant. “We’ve got a lot to work with coming up on the next few years.”