Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Tijuana, San Diego make bid for first binational Olympics

by Michelle Lanz and Alex Cohen | Take Two®

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A fence runs along the US-Mexico border between the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro ports of entry in and near San Diego, California, across from Tijuana, Mexico (L). The barrier seperating the two countries known to many as the 'border fence' or the 'border wall' is in reality several barriers, designed to prevent illegal movement across the border, backed by supporters and criticized by opponents. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, the cities of San Diego and Tijuana submitted a joint proposal to the US Olympic committee to host the 2024 summer games together. The Olympics have never been hosted by two different countries at the same time, and it would certainly present some logistical challenges.

"They'd obviously face the same challenges that any city that wants to host an Olympics may face...Then there are the actual particular challenges of trying to host a binational Olympics, the biggest of those being what to do about the border," said Adrian Florido, reporter at the Fronteras Desk in San Diego. "Anyone who has visited Tijuana knows that it takes hours to cross back into San Diego. You can just imagine the disaster that would be if an athlete missed an event because he or she was stuck at the border in Tijuana and couldn't get to San Diego."

The US Olympic Committee sent letters to 35 cities with invitations to apply for the chance to host the 2024 Olympics. San Diego was one of the cities chosen, and Mayor Bob Filner responded that he'd like to include Tijuana in the bid for host city. It's just one part of Filner's push to improved cooperation and relations with Tijuana.

"The two cities don't really pay a lot of attention to each other, even though they are right next to each other separated just by the border," said Florido. "The effort here is to get leaders of both sides to cooperate when they're thinking about regional challenges that really affect both cities, so things like long border wait times, about things like water quality that is often diminished because pollution leaks onto the other side and affects the waterways that both cities depend on."

Over the weekend, Filner said that he'd like Mitt Romney to lead the binational effort if the cities are chosen to host the Olympics. Romney successfully led the organizing committee for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, and he owns a home in San Diego, where he has spent a lot of time since the end of his presidential election campaign. 

The bid is still in the very preliminary stages, and there's a chance San Diego won't be chosen for the 2024 Games, but the idea has definitely been stirring criticism online. 

"Alot of people are skeptical and critical of even the idea, because they say San Diego has a hard time putting on Comic-Con, how would it even deal with the Olympics?" said Florido. "A lot of people say the process of filing a binational proposal for the Olympics would actually be a really good exercise in cooperation by leaders on both sides of the border and envisioning a way to make San Diego and Tijuana a more seamless region, despite the border that runs through them."

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