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Wednesday 27 January 2021

Forget Tokyo. Florida wants the Olympics. Now.

We may be less than a month into the New Year, but already he have a brilliant candidate for the award of Tin-Eared, Deluded Opportunist of 2021.

And, no surprise here, the nominee is an American politician - from the Republican Party.

Meet Jimmy Patronis, who enjoys the title of Chief Financial Officer in the US state of Florida.

Patronis is lobbying the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach into moving the upcoming Olympics to his state should they be canceled in Tokyo.

He pointed out how successfully Florida had recently hosted a UFC fight card. 

The Games were postponed from Tokyo in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak but are due to go ahead in Tokyo in six months' time. 
“There is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida to meet with statewide and local officials on holding the Olympics in the Sunshine State,” Patronis told the IOC. “I would welcome the opportunity to pitch Florida and help you make the right contacts to get this done.”

Patronis said that Florida’s “ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation network” could allow it to successfully hold the Games, and that there are “12 major universities that have existing sporting facilities.”

It usually takes a city up to eight years to prepare to host an Olympic Games and there is also the unfortunate matter of Covid-19 to consider. Something Patronis appears to have forgotten. 

The United States leads the rest of the world in both confirmed cases and deaths from the virus and Florida has had the third-most cases among any state in the country. There have been 25,000 deaths so far in the state as the US death toll soars above 420,000.

Florida, with a huge retired population,so much so that locals joke that gangs include "the Bloodclots and the Cripples". It has repeatedly been a hot spot for the virus, and locals have resented being asked to wear masks to prevent the virus spreading. 

Florida is also where the "Paramedic of the Year" was this week accused of stealing Covid vaccines.  

Victor Matheson, a leading sports economist, said holding the Games in Florida would be “mind-bogglingly stupid” and "batshit crazy". 

“The idea that just because Florida has a lot of hotels that they could organize an entire Olympics event within six months is absolutely crazy,” Matheson told the Huffington Post.

“Let’s be honest here: If Tokyo is not safe enough due to Covid-19 to host the event, there’s no way in a million years Florida is safe enough to host the event,” he said. 

“It simply means that Tokyo actually cares about whether they want a mass superspreader event in their city while Florida doesn’t.”

Patronis said in his letter that Florida has successfully allowed sports to take place during the pandemic.

Patronis is a former restaurateur and politician. He was previously a member of the Florida House of Representatives representing the 6th district, which includes Panama City (the one in the US, not the one in Panama) and other parts of southern Bay County, from 2006 to 2014

This mouth-breathing, inward thinker - who probably chants "USA, USA" in his sleep - seems not be aware that the US has already hosted the Summer Olympic Games four times, the most of any country. Los Angeles is again expected to host in 2028. 

Andrew Zimbalist, another leading sports economist, did not hold back. 

“This is an idiotic, delusional, uninformed, ignorant Florida politician trying to put his name out there,” Zimbalist said. “And whether or not he himself believes this can be done, I don’t know. It’s got no chance. It’s just stupid.”

The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to begin July 23 but maybe Patronis can convince the IOC to make them an annual event held at Disney World with free ice creams all round. 

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