The great American architect Daniel H. Burnham’s prophetic adage, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work. Remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die,” is a fitting thought about local businessmen, government officials and the general population as we begin entertaining the idea to host the 2024 Olympiad.
Dan Knise, former president and CEO of the Washington-Baltimore 2012 Regional Coalition for the 2012 Olympic bid, will need all the help he can get from Prince George’s County to pull off a successful bid. The last time the region went through this process was 2002. The most important regional agenda item at that time was landing the Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos), as additional financial resources were few and far in between. The gamble paid off nicely, as the Nationals became a 2012 playoff sensation in less than eight years.
Now that the elections and the baseball playoffs are behind us, our noble “big” plan should be focused squarely on one goal: hosting the 2024 Olympiad. By that time, it will have been 30 years since the United States hosted the 1996 Olympiad in Atlanta. Over $10 million was spent in the previous attempt, eventually losing to New York City and ultimately to the winning city of London. Nevertheless, the experience that was gained was very valuable.
We have until 2017 to put our collective spirit and unity together. The centerpiece of this effort is redesigning and reconstructing local infrastructure, which impacts the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. In addition, transportation, housing and structural programming will need to be collaborated among universities, government, private and other public institutions. Likewise, major regional outlets will need to host phased sporting events at the international, professional and collegiate levels to ensure our workforce is trained and prepared for the great influx of spectators that will be welcomed to our backyard. This will certainly provide an extensive boost to satisfying the educational disparity that exists between mirroring communities where contextual spillover seems to be missing.
The long-term vision and strategic development plans will ensure long-term job growth that will require new skills, ultimately reducing the disparity of jobs and education levels, which require a minimum requirement at the baccalaureate level. Once the games are long gone, organizers and program managers will need to ensure Smart Growth sustainable facilities continue to attract commensurate return on investment opportunities in our regional community. This time around, the magic and hope implied will stir men’s blood to ensure that the Class of 2024 will look upon us favorably.
According to leadership guru John Kotter, “Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there.” This certainly suggests that Aesop’s prophetic fable of “The Four Oxen and the Lion” will prove positive as our collective maturity to take the necessary steps to stand as one region on behalf of the United States of America and make this honorable undertaking a reality.
Timothy Dweylan Wilson, Bowie