The Toronto Star's Rosie DiManno weighs in on the Toronto Pan Am bid today. Arguing against the proposal - "The blueprint ... pays little heed to what is actually required for mounting a successful athletic pageant" - DiManno questions the practically of the multiple venues, and takes a predictable swipe at the Hammer:
[The games sites include] 16 municipalities studded around the Golden Horseshoe, which ain't so golden, and heavily skewed towards Hamilton, not exactly Canada at its tourism show-off best.
She goes on to question the longevity of some of the proposed developments:
For the privilege of hosting key events, Steeltown must pony up $60 million towards an estimated cost of $1.42 billion. For that contribution they'll get a 15,000-seat stadium, 50-metre pool and velodrome â€“ arguably the most useless sports facility ever invented by man.
She also addresses the dubious economic benefits of the games:
In recent decades, the Pan Ams have been staged by Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Havana and Caracas, cities that wouldn't get a sniff from the Olympics. This may have done much for patriotic esprit but no economic boon resulted, nor did the legacy of sports venues turn any of those countries into an athletic powerhouse. In fact, it was scandalous that the Dominican, one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, sank billions into the Pan Am folly.
Finally, DiManno suggests that, after failing to land the Olympics, Toronto is being deliberately unambitious:
Bidding for the Pan Ams â€“ against Lima and Bogota â€“ may indicate that Toronto, chastened by IOC rebuffs, is finally acknowledging it's a second-tier sports supplicant. Hell, Winnipeg hosted the games in 1999 so how much cachet can there be?
It seems to me, that in the end, the debate around the Pan Am games comes down to: How much will it cost? And how much will it recoup?
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