TAMPA - Former Hillsborough County Commissioner, Ed Turanchik and I took a stroll today at the intersection of Memory Lane and What-Might-Have-Been Boulevard.
"The Olympic Village was going to be on either side of the Hillsborough River. Volleyball was going to the Tampa Bay Times Forum," recalled Turanchik who led the effort in 1997 to bring the games to the Bay Area.
Turanchik thinks the GOP Convention is terrific, but hosting the Olympics would have been transformative.
High-speed trains would be coming in, high-speed ferry service would be here," said Turanchik.
Tampa's bid for the 2012 games was serious, despite the fact that we were up against San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
The plan included sailing off Pinellas County beaches, baseball at Legends Field and a brand new stadium for the USF Bulls, all paid for largely with Olympic revenues.
In October of 2001, Tampa was eliminated in the second round in favor of New York, then the focus of worldwide sympathy from the September 11 attacks.
But Turanchik believes the Olympic committee doubted Tampa Bay's ability to create rail in time for the games, which would have been spread out from Pinellas to Orlando.
Turanchik believes that defeat is actually a positive legacy for the future of the Bay Area.
"A bunch of people came in and looked at all the cities in America and said our biggest liability was that we had no transportation system for the 21st century. That resonated with a lot of business leaders who've said, we got to do something about that."
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Plenty of sunshine with high humidity, but low chances for an afternoon shower or storm inland.