SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Citius, Altius, Fortius, Ketchikanius!
By Dave Kiffer


March 02, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - Well, the Winter Olympics are finally over.

At least I think they are.

My wife - who normally loves the Olympics and is the only person in North America with a complete set of Olympic Figure Skating Trading Cards - hijacked the TV to watch "American Idol" the past two weeks.

So I never actually saw the Olympic flame get doused in Turin, but I have to think that since it was been six days since I have seen a "Bode Miller off course" headline in the Daily Fish Wrap that the games have finally run their course.

Now it is time to think about Ketchikan's bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

What, you say? We have no facilities? Like that stopped Athens from bidding on the 2004 summer games! As far as I could tell, its 2004 Olympic facilities were finally completed sometime in the fall of 2005.

gif race is on

The Race is On
Vince O'Farrell, The Illawarra Mercury, Australia
Distributed to subscribers by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

You say we have a long ways to go to present ourselves as a Winter Olympics contender? Last I heard several small yurt congregations in places charitably called "former Soviet Republics" have tossed their fur hats in the ring. Why not Ketchikan?

There are a couple of factors that we need to emphasize in order to make a Ketchikan Olympic bid a reality.

First of all, there's the money.

Second of all, there's the money.

The money in question is the mega-gazzillion dollars that American television networks throw at the International Olympic Committee for the "rights" to televise the games in North America.

The IOC doesn't much like America. Its member states think that we are big and vulgar. But it does like our money. When was the last time that you saw "Kremlin Master Card" sponsoring the games?

And on the horizon, there is a potential stoppage in the flow of the "Yankee aggressor" cash pipeline: Bad ratings.

The only time that American audiences are really much interested in watching the games on TV is when they aren't tape delayed three and a half weeks. So that means they really need to be held in North America.

Four years ago, in Salt Lake City, the ratings were pretty good, Eight years ago in Nagano, Japan, they bit the sushi big time.

This year in Turin, they were so low that commentators suggested a "shroud" had fallen over the entire Olympic movement (bad pun intended)..

Four years from now, they will be in Vancouver-Whistler B.C. and ratings will likely be pretty good again. I think the IOC will see a pattern developing and decide that if they want to keep those "Capitalist running dogs" (dollars) running they better permanently affix the Winter Games to this continent.

But how can Ketchikan host a Winter Olympics when we hardly even get any snow?

One night - after my wife fell asleep during "Michael Jackson Night" on American Idol - I turned the channel and saw that Turin (or Torino for all you fans of 1970s Ford lack-of-muscle cars) didn't have much snow this year.

Even in the mountains, much of the white stuff had been manufactured. Heckfire, we can do that. Especially, if we get an American TV network to cut a nice half a gazillion dollar check to our local Olympic committee.

But what about the massive crowds and the lack of infrastructure? Have you been been downtown on a sunny summer day lately? It can't get any worse that that.

Seriously, the second way to boost television ratings is to eliminate sports in which the US Doesn't do well. If we get rid of all these biathlons and cross country ski events that are only won by people with last names ending in "son" or "sen" we can cut out about half of the participants and number of venues right there.

gif olympic security

Olympics Security
Jeff Parker, Florida Today
Distributed to subscribers by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

Does anyone in North America really care about a sport in which someone - usually from Anchorage - sets a new national "record" and still finishes 45th? I think not.

Of course, we did pretty poorly in alpine skiing this year (at least compared to all the pre-Olympic media hype) but I think we should still keep those sports in the mix. Personally, I can't wait to see a downhill course snaking back and forth along the drop-off flank of Deer Mountain.

Slalom races would also be more entertaining in the "Ketchikan Alps" as well, because rather than those goofy little flag poles that bend out of the way when you ski through them, we could just leave a few trees on the course! Nothing like some grisly accidents ( and hovering rescue helicopters) to drive up the ratings.

We could cut back a little by getting rid of the super giant slalom and the giant slalom because no one really knows what those races mean anyway.. Either you careen straight down the hill in the (appropriately named) downhill or you schush back and forth on the slalom. Everything else just confuses the viewers and sends them running to "Celine Dion Night" on American Idol.

I'd also be tempted to cut out the sliding events (bobsled, luge and skeleton) because the Europeans also have a pretty big lock on those events. But since American television views thirst for hi-speed crashes (what else explains the allure of NASCAR?) we'd probably need to retrofit Washington and Jefferson streets and the Schoenbar bypass. and keep those events in the games.

The good thing would be heading down Washington and Jefferson at speed would lead to aerial takeoffs on Second and Third avenues therefore allowing us to combine the sliding sports with ski jumping further saving on facilities and participants.

And it would answer the age-old question of whether a four-man bobsled going airborne off Second Avenue would really clear Madison Hardware and land safely in Bar Harbor. Inquiring minds want to know!.

Of course, we would have to build some sort of ice rink to hold the hockey and skating because Americans like to watch those sports simply because there IS a snowball's chance of an American medal.

This is where the Olympics would be an especially good thing for Ketchikan. Just about everyone in town (particularly the aforementioned television clicker hijacker) would love a skating rink. Heck, we'd even almost possibly maybe consider using our own money to build it. But - fortunately - we wouldn't have to. We'd just tap into that endless supply of ugly American advertising dollars and let NBC, ABC, CBS or the Home Shopping Network pay for it!

Other than that, we'd just build a couple of half-pipes for the snowboarders and call it good. The snowboarderss will win a bunch of medals, everyone will walk around saying "dude" a lot, the television ratings would be "mondo awesome" and everyone, especially the IOC, would go home happy.

Ketchikan:2014. It has a nice - well, maybe five nice - ring(s) to it!


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2006

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