Alumni in sports
Vehr sees 2008
by Geoff Gloeckler '98
Over the summer, for a span of two weeks, the entire world was infected with what many have billed as "Olympic Fever:" A time in which the world comes together, every four years, supposedly forgetting their differences, to compete in various athletic events showcasing the best athletes on the planet.
In Atlanta, many heroes were born, from Michelle Smith of Ireland winning four gold medals in swimming, to Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey arguably the two fastest men on the planet, to Kerri Strug and the rest of the "Mag 7."
However, the athletes and their respective events seemed to take a back seat to the problems Atlanta faced; the bomb in Centennial Park, the Mass Transit debacle, the thousands of vendors and store owners whose sales were half of what they expected, not to mention the extreme heat of Georgia.
Now Nick Vehr ‘77 has resigned his position as Cincinnati City Council Member to form the Greater Cincinnati 2008 Amateur Sports Association, attempting to bring the 2008 Olympiad to Cincinnati. To many this may seem crazy which is well understood. It is in question whether or not the city of Cincinnati is ready for an event such as the Olympic games
"Cincinnati deserves the Olympics," Vehr explains. "I think that it (bringing the Olympics to Cincinnati) is do-able. I think that in bringing the Olympics to Cincinnati, it will help propel this community, this region, into the 21st century as a major urban center in the world."
But bringing the Olympics to Cincinnati is easier said than done. Right now there are six other major US cities, along with Cincinnati, battling for the 2008 Olympiad, Boston, Seattle, Houston, San Antonio, New York, and Chicago. "The US has to choose one city to represent the nation, and the city that is chosen will be the one who does the best job of perusing them," says Vehr. "This is about a two year process, then after that it takes about another two to three years before the host city is selected." In other words, we will not know who will host the 2008 Olympiad for at least four years.
Right now, area contracting companies are studying the feasibility of bringing the Olympics to Cincinnati, in order to see if Cincinnati actually has the necessary facilities. In about six months the tests will be complete and then it will be known whether or not it will be feasible for Cincinnati to host the Olympics. Then the costs of building needed facilities and how they can be paid for will be discussed. Hopefully these can be resolved without altering taxes.
Though many would assume that Vehr and his many backers are doing this to make names for themselves as Billy Payne did in Atlanta, Vehr says this is untrue. "I am not in this to gain anything for myself, but instead, to try to get the city to focus on a common agenda, which would help prepare us for the future."
Mr. Vehr seems very confident that Cincinnati has a good chance of winning the right to host 2008 Olympiad, and though there may be many hurdles standing between him and the finish line, he will do anything in his power to win this race, to bring us the heroes, the heartbreak, and that ever present fever that seems to follow the torch to the Olympics.
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