AL HAMNIK: Three sports blunders destined for failure

2014-01-11T18:00:00Z 2014-01-13T14:52:04Z AL HAMNIK: Three sports blunders destined for failureAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 11, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

Everywhere you look these days, there are videos shown of people around the world doing the dumbest things you could imagine.

What were they thinking? I have three examples that fly at you like bats in a cave.

1) The first cold weather outdoor Super Bowl in NFL history Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. What was commissioner Roger Goodell thinking?

Many of you still have frostbite from that arctic blast that crippled the Midwest last week. Want to sit outdoors, at night, for nearly four hours in freezing temperatures? Be my guest.

Football was meant to be played outdoors, but not the Super Bowl, not if the host city wants to turn a huge profit and the NFL thump its chest with great pride — meaning a contest that doesn't feature 12 fumbles and 18 interceptions caused by the nasty elements.

MetLife Stadium CEO Brad Mayne says not to worry.

They've got a plan that includes a machine that can melt 600 tons of snow an hour.

They have 1,600 additional workers on standby.

They have a million gallons of brine and 850,000 gallons of liquid calcium to treat salt if temps drop to below freezing.

Each fan at the game will receive a gift bag that includes a seat cushion, hand warmer, lip balm and other essentials. They should add a week in Hawaii just to thaw out.

Officials of New Jersey's largest utility company say they have taken numerous measures to ensure there will be no repeat of the power failure that delayed last year's game in New Orleans.

Feeling better now?

Goodell has said a crippling nor'easter could possibly result in the Super Bowl actually being rescheduled. And what a giant mess that would be for fans, players and league officials.

2) The Winter Olympics next month in Sochi, Russia, of all places. What was the International Olympic Committee thinking?

These are dangerous, volatile times in Russia.

The United States Department of State has issued a travel alert for those planning to attend the Winter Olympics. It expires March 24.

The alert warns this is the first large-scale event held in Sochi and that medical capacity and infrastructure in the region are untested for handling the volume of visitors expected for the Olympics.

Sochi provides an attractive target for terrorists and there have been car bombings in the area, according to the alert.

Be prepared for a shortage of hotel rooms, where current advertised rates for standard rooms range from $750 to $1,000 per night.

Expect public demonstrations and protests.

And this from The Christian Science Monitor: A Swiss Olympic official said one-third of the $55 billion raised to host the Games was embezzled.

3) The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, with all its crime, drug cartels and pollution. Again, what was the IOC thinking?

The sprawling metropolis of 6 million people suffers mightily with limited trash and sewage services. Can the problem be solved, cleaned up, before the Games? I doubt it.

An Associated Press analysis in November of more than a decade of Rio state government tests on waterways across the city showed fecal coliform pollution levels far above those considered safe by Brazilian or U.S. Law.

Most beaches along the 148-square mile bay have been long abandoned by swimmers.

At low tide, "mountains of household refuse" are seen just offshore, the AP reported in a Jan. 6 story.

Don't know about you, but I can't wait for the video on these three developing stories.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

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