By Abigail LaBounty
The 2024 summer Olympics were a series of surprises from the beginning. The first was the failure of the glorious city of Baku, Azerbaijan, heart of the highly beloved motherland, to win the Olympic bid.
Baku’s elimination in the first round of voting despite obviously surpassing such candidates as Paris, St. Petersburg and Istanbul, can only be attributed to corruption. Clearly Tulsa, recognizing the superiority of Baku, bribed the Olympic selection committee to eliminate Baku from the running early, before its superiority could be unequivocally demonstrated.
After losing to Rio De Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020, no one could even contemplate not beating the tiny, obscure Tulsa, a city that most people had to Google after hearing its name on the shortlist. Indeed, after the preliminary vote, many in Baku were convinced the announcement was a joke by officials trying to “mess with” Baku after its history of failed bids.
The next disappointment came during the days leading up to the opening ceremony. As visitors began to plan their visits to Tulsa, it soon became apparent that they would have to stay in neighboring towns for the games, as Tulsa did not have sufficient accommodations for all.
Some spectators even ended up driving for multiple hours to make it to sports venues built on the outskirts of town. This, of course, would never have happened in the spectacular city of Baku, where eight new luscious five-star hotels, a beautiful new Olympic stadium and an elegant, state-of-the-art aquatics center have opened since the 2016 Olympic bid.
The venues for the games in Tulsa could only be described as quaint. The city showed off its short history with romanticized themes of cowboys of the Old West and hundreds of indistinguishable tribes of Native Americans. Of course, as Tulsa is part of a country that is only a few hundred years old, no one could expect it to have rich themes like those of London, Tokyo or Baku, with histories dating back to the medieval period.
There’s just no way Tulsa’s cliche “Cowboys and Indians” theme could ever be blamed for not stacking up to the glorious “Meeting of the East and West” that has been ingrained in Baku culture for centuries.
Despite losing to Tulsa, Baku already has plans to continue its fight for Olympic glory. The city has bids in for the 2032, 2034, 2036 and 2038 Olympic games. City officials have taken a firm stance that they will continue their bidding to host the Olympics until the city is bankrupt, at which point the hotels and game venues will be sold to the federal government as training areas for future Olympic teams.