Thursday, June 4, 2009

Memorial Stadium is falling apart & The Pan American Games?


That's not really a shock to anyone who's driven past the near seventy-five year-old concrete hulk on 7th Street.

This now leaves the city with a new bill to foot because a structural analysis of the stadium is sure to show more damage than we currently know about. That actually creates a possibility for the city: a chance to bid for the Pan American Games.

Charlotte loves to bid for sporting events, particularly college basketball tournaments which are always successful in the city, just ask the CIAA. But recently Charlotte has begun to enlarge it's portfolio with events beyond basketball such as the Quail Hollow (formerly Wachovia) Championship, a stop that has become a gem of the PGA tour, and the Charlotte Ultraswim, which though it's been around for awhile has only recently garnered much publicity thanks not only to the apperence of Michael Phelps, but due to several Mecklenburg Aquatic Club swimming grabbing medals in Beijing last summer. There are some who would dream of the Olympic Games being in Charlotte, but that is the longshot of all longshot, the Pan American Games are actually a realisitic possibility for the city.

Indianapolis (1987) and Winnipeg (1999) are similar sized cities which have hosted the games, though they have grown in size and expectation since. Rio used the 2007 games to help boost awareness for a potential 2016 Olympic bid where they will compete against Chicago, Madrid, and Tokyo. Rio will also most likely host the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in it's world-renowned Maracana. Rio built an entirely new stadium for the Games, the 45,000-seat Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, which has since been home to Botafogo (to whom it is known as Engenhão, after the neighborhood where it's located) who were quasi-nomadic before the move.

Also this week we found out that UNC Charlotte seems to be a bit short in their quest to raise money for a new football stadium, why couldn't a 40,000-seat stadium in the University area become a joint project between the city and the University? There isn't really a reason. UNCC's current sports venues could also play some role in the Games.

Charlotte does have the ability to host such an event, though it may be somewhat adverse to hosting a "second-tier Olympics" having seen the much scowled at Atlanta host the real deal in 1996. Those people need to understand that we're not Atlanta, we're Charlotte and we can't let everything Atlanta does decide what we do and don't do.

In 2011 the Mexican city of Guadalajara will host the games and they will feature thirty sports, the twenty-six Olympic events plus baseball, softball, rugby union, and raquetball. Greater Charlotte has the venues for these sports:

Archery: Independence Park (Elizabeth, Charlotte)
Aquatics: Mecklenburg Aquatic Center (Second Ward, Charlotte)
Athletics: Pan American Stadium (University City, Charlotte)
Badminton: Grady Cole Center (Elizabeth, Charlotte)
Baseball: Knights Stadium (Third Ward, Charlotte) {or Fort Mill, SC}
Beach Volleyball: Lake Norman (temp venue)
Basketball: Bobcats Arena (First Ward, Charlotte)
BMX: Park Road Park (Charlotte)
Boxing: Belk Arena (Davidson)
Canoe: National Whitewater Center (Mecklenburg County)
Cycling: Uptown Charlotte
Equestrian: Gaston Equestrian Park (Dallas, NC)
Fencing: Cabarrus Arena (Concord, NC)
Field Hockey: Davidson Field Hockey Stadium
Gymnastics: Halton Arena (University City, Charlotte)
Handball: Bojangles' Coliseum (Independence Blvd., Charlotte)
Judo: Grady Cole Center
Karate: Grady Cole Center
Modern Pentathlon: Irwin Belk Complex (Biddleville, Charlotte) - running, Aquatic Center - swimming, Independence Park - shooting, Grady Cole Center - fencing
Mountain Bike: Reedy Creek Park (Charlotte)
Open-water swimming: Lake Norman
Raquetball: TBD
Rowing: Lake Wylie
Rugby: Belk Stadium (Wingate, NC), District Three Stadium (Rock Hill, SC)
Sailing: Myrtle Beach, SC or Outer Banks, NC
Shooting: Independence Park
Skating: TBD
Soccer: Bank of America Stadium (Third Ward, Charlotte), Pan American Stadium, Richardson Stadium (Davidson), Queens Stadium (Marion Diehl Park, Charlotte)
Softball: Phillips Stadium (University City, Charlotte)
Squash: Cabarrus Events Center (Concord, NC)
Table Tennis: Cabrarrus Events Center
Track Cycling: Rock Hill Velodrome (proposed) (Rock Hill, SC)
Taekwondo: Grady Cole Center
Tennis: The Palisades (Charlotte)
Triathlon: Lake Wylie, York County, SC - Charlotte bike course, run to stadium
Volleyball: Halton Arena
Weightlifting: Cabarrus Events Center
Wrestling: Brayboy Gymnasium (Biddleville, Charlotte)

Of course, this is just one of my pipe dreams. :)

1 comment:

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