In his letter to the [International Olympic Committee], Jimmy Patronis ― the chief financial officer for the state of Florida ― cited reports that Japan has decided to call off this summer’s games due to the pandemic after already delaying the event by a year. (The IOC has called such reports “categorically untrue.”)
“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 wrote. “I would welcome the opportunity to pitch Florida and help you make the right contacts to get this done.”
He touted Florida’s “ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation network” as well as the state’s “12 major universities that have existing sporting facilities.”
Jimmy Patronis, for those not familiar (like me, until ten minutes ago), is the heir to a Panama City seafood restaurant who has largely turned his back on the family business to serve a variety of roles in Florida state government, from serving on the Florida Elections Commission to his current role as state CFO. What possessed him to write an open letter to the IOC offering to host the Olympics on six months’ notice in his state — a state, it’s worth noting, that currently has a coronavirus case rate per capita that is 1360% higher than Japan’s — is unclear, but the pointing and laughing was fast and furious:
Victor Matheson, an economist at Holy Cross and an expert on the economic impact of the Olympics, called Patronis’ proposal “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 said…
“Let’s be honest here: If Tokyo is not safe enough due to COVID 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.”
“It’s very different if they were having the Super Bowl or something like that,” [Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University for Health Security] added. “That’s actually easier than the Olympics because the Olympics are coming from multiple different countries with different testing regimens and different levels of infections and different levels of vaccination.”
“This is an idiotic, delusional, uninformed, ignorant Florida politician trying to put his name out there,” [Smith College sports economist Andrew] Zimbalist said of Patronis. “And whether or not he himself believes this can be done, I don’t know. It’s got no chance. It’s just stupid.”
You are brain dead.
— brad culp (@bbculp) January 26, 2021
As am I, after five posts today. See you all tomorrow, or maybe Friday if the news cycle blessedly stops spinning for a minute.