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San Diego Would Like To Host The 2024 Olympics With Tijuana

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Cars wait to enter the U.S. from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Ysidro, CA in 2001. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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This week the mayors of 35 cities in the United States got a letter from the United States Olympic Committee asking them to consider putting in a bid to host the Olympics in 2024. There's certainly interest here in Los Angeles, which already hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. But we're especially intrigued by the mayor of San Diego who is talking up his city's "very serious" interest in hosting the games with their neighbors to the south Tijuana.

The idea of the border cities hosting the first binational Olympics has come up before, but this proposal comes just as San Diego mayor Bob Filner is promoting the idea of Tijuana-San Diego as a major economic region.

The proposal has all the makings of a long-shot, but Filner told reporters, "I'm very serious." And we don't doubt him: Filner just happened to make his remarks while he was in Tijuana at the opening of the city's first office on the other side of the border. He's appointed a full-time staffer to deal solely with San Diego's relationship to Tijuana, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But it's not hard to see why the Olympic proposal is such a long-shot: the two cities are disconnected in a lot of ways and they've only grown more disconnected over the last decade. Tightened border security has only made the wait to get from Mexico into the U.S. longer. It often takes longer than two hours to cross over. The drug war has gotten uglier, and tourism into Mexico has dropped. Students from both countries used to take field trips across the border or participate in exchanges, but that sort of thing doesn't happen as much. The economy has been rough on both sides of the border.

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Although 2024 is a long ways off, it boggles our mind thinking about just how much would have to change between the two countries. But it turns out that's really kind of the whole point of this exercise. Kenn Morris, president of Crossborder Group, a marketing and research firm, told the Union-Tribune: “Looking at the Olympics seriously will show us the potential of the binational region. It doesn’t matter if we win. The whole point is forcing the two communities to think through what it would take to do that—so that we can see the gaps in infrastructure and institutions that we have."

Here's the letter that went out to mayors in the biggest U.S. cities, including New York, Vegas, Tulsa and Portland.

Related:
Aiming for stronger Tijuana-San Diego ties