Jerry Summers: Gig City Got Hosed

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

A relatively mild news release from our normally enthusiastic media sources lauding the influx of millions of dollars into our economy for a sporting event is informative!

Our local predecessor to the New York Times ran an article on December 16, 2022, which appears to be a re-run of a previous written article in the alleged Bible for marathon runners and health enthusiasts, RUNNERS WORLD.

“Sarah Lorge Butler” is a well known writer and editor in Eugene, Oregon and her stories about the sport (running), its trends, and fascinating individuals have appeared (in the above publication) since 2005.

On December 12, 2022, Ms. Butler penned the following phrase: “In spite of a recommendation on October 9, 2022 at the United States American Track & Field (USATF) Board of Directors that Chattanooga be named as the next city for the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials, the city will not host the event!” For us non-runners this highly beneficial financial and publicity rich addition to our community banking accounts was a big loss. (Orlando was chosen to host the next event on November 8, 2022 in an announcement that creates the various mysteries as it applies to Chattanooga).

Here are some interesting facts that need answers:

  1. A member of the Board of Directors of ASATF Jim Estes that “had been involved as a paid advisor” in Chattanooga’s bid to be selected for the prestigious event which simply means that the athletes chosen to represent the U.S.A. in the 2024 Olympics would be picked in our town.

  2. Estes allegedly disclosed his employment as a consultant for an $8,000 fee from the Chattanooga Sports Committee in May, 2022 in a “conflict of interest” form filed with the USATF authorities by him;

  3. On December 12 and December 16, 2022 Sarah Lorge Butler wrote two articles in RUNNERS WORLD, on the events that have received relatively little coverage by local involved public officials which they probably would like to forget;
    a. As of December 12, 2022 – Questions Arise About the Selection of 2024 Marathon Trials Site”
    b. December 16, 2022 – “USATF Disqualified Marathon Trials Bid Over Conflict of Interests!”

In January, the Tennessee Journal repeated the story in a short Tennessee Notes and Quotes entry where the explanation by a spokeswoman for the United States Olympic and Paralympic said the conflict of Interest in Chattanooga cast doubt on the fairness of the competitive process!

Further ironic is the fact that sources report that Orlando’s bid to be the winner was increased to $600,000 over Chattanooga’s prior winning commitment of $480,000 and the Gig City’s disqualification was not revealed to the folks from the Home of Disneyworld until they had been asked to contribute what turned out to be an additional $120,000 for more prize money to cover hotel rooms for trial qualifiers for three nights and transportation to and from the airport for athletes.

What did it cost the Gig City from the disqualification in terms of “economic benefit?”

One analyst has stated that the minimum loss in dollars would be 4 times the $480,000 winning bid (?) or at least $1,920,000.

With the Chattanooga Track Club’s excellent past record in promoting and sponsoring prior track events, it was also suggested that the maximum financial benefits to the community might be 6-8 times the amount of the winning but disqualified bid!

Included in those figures would be travel expenses, state and local taxes, temporary jobs creation, advertising, sponsorships, charitable foundations involvement, etc.

(Who knows there might have been some funds created to help alleviate the growing homeless problem without tax payer expense?)

Jerry Summers

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