Could Las Vegas host the Olympics someday? Never say never

Could Las Vegas host the Olympic games? Never say never.
Illustration: Jon Estrada
Jason Scavone

We might not have a river running through our city, but that means we also don’t have a river composed overwhelmingly of poop. Las Vegas 1, Rio 0.

With the 31st Summer Olympiad kicking off in Rio de Janeiro amid crises of crippling economic corruption, heavily armed drug gangs, practically nonexistent emergency services, Zika and, y’know, poop, Las Vegas couldn’t possibly be any worse as an Olympic city.

And you know what? It’s not entirely unfeasible. Assuming the International Olympic Committee could get past its constant demands for new facilities in Olympic sites, we’ve got five arenas plus Sam Boyd Stadium, and an equestrian center at the South Point. Plus there are the possibilities of a new stadium for the Raiders, the All Net Arena opening on the Strip and that soccer stadium Downtown, plus however many high-end gun ranges they could need to house shooting events. It could also make for a great excuse to finally finish Fontainebleau and convert it into the first luxury high-rise Olympic Village.

The big knock, of course, is what to do with all the water sports. It might seem like a nonstarter. But how much more impressive would a gold medal in canoeing be when you have to dodge the Bellagio fountains to get it? How much more likely are you to watch sailing if there’s a chance they might catch a bad gust and go over the Hoover Dam? Especially when you took that prop in the sports book at 300-1.

There’s also the small matter of competing in the summer heat. But surely, a city that once figured out how to put on an outdoor hockey game at Caesars Palace in 95-degree weather could crack the case. And if we couldn’t? Spontaneously combusting flaming arrows in the archery events.

Besides, Rio is expected to set the record for condoms distributed in the Olympic Village—450,000 for 10,500 athletes. We have the infrastructure, the human capital and the civic willpower to make that number a footnote in history. This fair city’s strip clubs, porn-slappers and escort services can and will far surpass every tall, tan, young and lovely girl from Ipanema hanging around the U.S. swim team’s dorm. For God’s sake, Michael Phelps spent every weekend here from 2005-2010. He can lead the next generation to the promised land.

At the very least, Metro would never post up at the airport like the Rio cops with “Welcome to Hell” banners. Vegas 2024.

Tags: Featured
Top of Story