Vice President Joe Biden
1 Observatory Circle NW
Washington, DC 20008
Dear Mr. Vice President:
I have an urgent request concerning the news that the Philadelphia area has a shot at hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics.
A story in The Morning Call on Saturday said that Marty Nothstein, director of our local Valley Preferred Cycling Center, was contacted by a group in Texas "about the possibility of using the facility in Trexlertown in a Philadelphia bid package for the 2024 Olympic Games."
It has been reported in other news accounts that you represented the Obama administration at past Olympic events, and you are a native of eastern Pennsylvania, so I decided to appeal to you for help.
I have discussed the Trexlertown velodrome often because of my job as a columnist, but more importantly I have deep ties to that marvelous place. I used to race bicycles when I was a little younger and my blood (a gruesome six-bike crash) helped fertilize the concrete between turns 1 and 2 (actually, it's just one big turn).
That crash ended my racing, for the most part, but you can see what a personal investment I have in what's fondly called T-town's "concrete crater."
Saturday's story said Philadelphia is one of eight cities in the running when the U.S. Olympic Committee makes its pitch for America to host the 2024 Olympics.
If Philly gets selected, Nothstein was quoted as saying that "it makes perfect sense to incorporate the world-class facility we have right here in the Lehigh Valley" for the cycling events. While that may be joyous news for some, there is an element to the story that is distressing to me, personally.
First and foremost, I feel it is unspeakably unfair that a federal agency, the Centers for Disease Control, has stipulated in its National Vital Statistics Reports, published last October, that I probably shall be forced to miss this event by five months.
The CDC put the life expectancy for a white male in his mid-70s at 11 years. That means my clock is likely to stop by February 2024, and the Summer Games of that year do not start until the following summer.
The report gives women in that age range another 12.9 years, which means my wife will get to see the Olympic cycling events (if they're in T-town) shortly after she has planted me, which violates my rights; it is sex discrimination. Besides, she is from the Japanese island of Okinawa, world famous for longevity, so she'll probably confound the CDC and outlive Honey Boo Boo.
In any case, please use your influence to persuade the top CDC officials to change this cruel 11-year projection. Use waterboarding on them, if necessary.
Failing that, maybe you can use the power of your position to get the host of the 2020 Olympic Games (now down to three contenders, Turkey, Spain or Japan) to swap dates with us. Threaten to nuke, invade or even drone them if they don't accede. (I can make it to 2020, as long as the CDC doesn't shorten its projections.)
To illustrate how important this is to me, Monday was a nice day, with temperatures climbing toward the mid-40s, so I went to our storage shed, dug out my old Bianchi track bike (fixed gear, no brakes), dusted it off, pumped up the tires, put it on the car's bike carrier and headed for Trexlertown.
Cruising around the concrete crater's banked turns, I thought about the glorious days of competition and the glorious days to come, as a spectator, if only you'll help adjust things so I'm here for the Olympics.
While I was at the velodrome, I stopped in to see Nothstein and asked him what he thought the odds were of getting Olympic cycling in Trexlertown in 2024.
"Having any odds is good," he said. "I think Philadelphia has a good chance" of being picked as the city that the U.S. Olympic Committee will propose to the International Olympic Committee.