Every four years the Summer Olympics gives me license to dream.
As I watch swimmer Michael Phelps, shaped like a garden trowel with flippers for feet, win another gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly, I imagine myself slicing through the water like an eel. And when the bouncy, sparkly nymph Simone Biles flies through her floor exercise like Tinkerbell, I think back to my high school gymnastics class, in which I once executed a forward roll on the balance beam flanked by my classmates who pushed me back onto the beam as I rolled heavily off.
Later I made a misstep while attempting a vault, and broke my little toe, effectively ending my gymnastics career but never my daydreams of Olympic glory.
Not even a cloud of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, polluted water and a disgraced Russian track team could stop Rio de Janeiro from throwing a great 2016 Olympics.
On Sunday the party ends and the torch is passed to Tokyo for 2020. Meanwhile, the process of choosing the host city for the 2024 Olympics will be decided next year by a vote of the 100 International Olympic Committee members from among the five cities still left in the running; Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Budapest and Hamburg. Here’s Life on the Half Shell’s official bid for Shelter Island to host summer games of 2024.
Until July of 2015, Boston was on the shortlist of five cities vying for 2024 summer games. But when Bostonians failed to summon enthusiasm for the expense of hosting the Olympics, they were dropped from consideration, replaced by Los Angeles.
Los Angeles’ bid for the Olympics immediately found favor with the I.O.C. since their pitch emphasizes the sustainability of their plan, which would require the construction of only one new building since they already have a “pre-enjoyed” Olympic stadium; the one they built when they hosted in 1984.
If hosting the Olympics without constructing new buildings is the measure of sustainability, what place could out-sustain Shelter Island? We manage to host 10,000 visitors every summer and we don’t even have public bathrooms.
We could recruit a star-studded Olympic Organizing Committee, with two-time Olympic sailor and hometown-girl Amanda Clark, and Shelter Island 10K regulars and Olympians Joan Benoit Samuelson, Frank Shorter and Meb Keflezighi to represent us.
Cities that bid for the Olympics submit a transportation plan, and Shelter Island’s would establish East and West ferries to complement the current North and South, along with an “All Hands on Deck” system; a fleet of private boats from paddleboards, to kayaks, to yachts prowling local waters and dispatched with an Uber-like app.
The Shelter Island bid would include a generous supply of athlete housing, due in large part to the complete absence of local regulations controlling short-term rentals. An Airbnb/VRBO/Town of Shelter Island marketplace would procure agreements from an estimated 95 percent of local homeowners to vacate their homes for the duration of the games, allowing the athletes to stay unsupervised and unimpeded.
Since this is pretty much what happens during a normal summer, there would be plenty of housing.
Olympic hosts are expected to outline a security plan to keep the athletes and spectators safe during the Games. Our defensive fauna would be a key part of our security plan. Operation Deerhawk would employ osprey on patrol in the skies, communicating with teams of browsing deer, to identify and repel intruders.
Any evildoer who has seen what an osprey can do to a bunker fish will know they are no match for a raptor with a six-foot wingspan and talons, especially when they have a bulls-eye rash on their back from an encounter with deer ticks.
Construction of stadiums and venues are usually part of a host-city’s Olympic bid, but would we really need them? Shelter Island events are traditionally pop-up affairs: Shakespeare performed on the lawn at Sylvester Manor without the cost and fuss of building a theater; Sunset Beach volleyball played in front of an admiring crowd seated at the café across the street.
Every Bucks fan knows when you attend a sporting event on the Island, you bring your own chair.
Like all Olympic hosts, Shelter Island would face challenges. 2016 Olympic rower Megan Kalmoe claimed that she wasn’t worried about polluted water in Rio, writing in her blog that she’d row through anything to represent America.
Her resolve to soldier on in spite of disgusting water could be the sort of support needed for a Shelter Island Olympic bid to prosper, since after last Wednesday’s heavy rain, the waters around Shelter Island were closed for shell fishing, the summer algae blooms resulting from nitrate runoff were turning local bays the color of beet juice, and Fresh Pond was taking on the same shade of green seen in Rio’s Olympic diving pool.
Organizers of the summer games are said to be considering eight new Olympic sports, including bowling. Of course the 2024 games in Shelter Island would be the ideal place to introduce the world to Olympic bowling. Kevin Lechmanski who bowled a perfect 300 game during the Shelter Island Men’s Championship Tournament on April 1 could be Shelter Island’s next Olympian.