We're past the halfway point of the Tokyo Olympics, and being a dedicated Olympics fan takes a lot out of you.
Those late nights spent watching volleyball and early-ish mornings watching the equestrian horseszzz …
"Welcome back to Minnesota 2048. The Games of the 39th Olympiad have been full of inspiring athletic performances and lots of hotdish suppers. It's amazing to think that the organizers seriously jeopardized the bid by refusing to stage the mixed team duck duck goose event, but a compromise was reached by staging those events in Wisconsin.
The new Olympic Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus has been a jewel. Sure, they plowed the 36-year-old football stadium to put up another one, but considering the Atlanta Braves used Turner Field for only 19 seasons (nee Centennial Olympic Stadium) before giving up on it, this was considered good use of taxpayer funds. Besides, every bank in or near Minnesota had owned the naming rights by 2045, so it was time to start anew.
Last week's Opening Ceremony was a celebration of Minnesota culture. There were artistic tributes to Prince, Lizzo and Bob Dylan, and each of the 202 country delegations entered the stadium with its name written on a giant Post-It Note.
Former Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck sprinted five laps of the stadium with the Olympic torch before it was realized he was not actually part of the relay, and the final honors were given to legendary gymnast Suni Lee. The actual fire had to be replaced with a yule log video from YouTube after Day 3 because of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regulations banning outdoor fires due to wildfire danger. It was probably for the best, as locals were grilling S'mores and attempting to camp overnight in the upper decks of the Olympic stadium since they didn't make reservations at a state park in time to get a campsite on a summer weekend.
The Twin Cities are full of great venues for the indoor Olympic sports: Basketball is at Target Center, baseball at Target Field, archery is in the Blaine Target parking lot.
Despite the many great locations throughout the metro area, the effects of climate change have meant that some outdoor events needed to be moved to more hospitable climes.
The rowing and flatwater canoe/kayak events are taking place in Ely, though the international broadcasters have been struggling to cover the parts of the course that cross into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In accordance with Forest Service regulations on allowable items in the wilderness area, NBC has employed court sketch artists to depict the winners, and all timing is being done by volunteers counting "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi…"
Duluth did such a great job hosting the Winter Olympics in 2038 that they proved to be a natural fit for some of the more climate-sensitive events, given how it remains one of the few places remaining in the Midwest where anyone wants to be outside for more than an hour in July.
In recognition of the way the events fan out across northern and central Minnesota, the Olympic Village was built in Hinckley. Athletes of all nations have been thrilled for the opportunity to stop at Tobies for cinnamon rolls on their way to and from events.
Of course, Duluth was always going to host Olympic sailing on the Lake Superior coastline, but for the first time since Tokyo 2020, the marathon is significantly north of the host city. They're using the Grandma's Marathon course, but instead of "Grandma" to greet the finishers, International Olympic Committee President-for-Life and 1976 team fencing gold medalist Thomas Bach dressed in 19th century period costume.
However, the Olympic Closing Ceremony isn't scheduled until Tuesday, as it is expected Bach will need two days to get back to the Twin Cities amid southbound Sunday night I-35 traffic."
("Bugler's Dream" can be heard in the background as the dream sequence dissolves.)
Wait, what did I miss? Have they crowned the handball champions yet? No?
So, the Minnesota Games 2048 are a long ways off, both in terms of time and imagination. However the U.S. Olympic Committee did ask Minneapolis in 2013 in real life if it was interested in getting a bid together for 2020.
I suppose there's a few more days of events to get through now, but given that the IOC is already booked until 2032, I've got some work to do to finalize the bid. As they say: If you snooze, you lose.
Brandon Veale is presentation editor of the News Tribune. He would like to be a part of a Minnesota Olympic bid but needs some time to get a couple billion dollars together to fund it.