It may be a new year and a new era with a new President, but so far one thing has remained the same in 2021.
Florida is still being extremely Florida.
Amid rumors the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics might be postponed yet again as the pandemic continues to surge, a top official in the Sunshine State—among the most infected places on Earth—requested to host the games this summer instead.
The suggestion is so bizarre a top economist has called it "mind-bogglingly stupid."
A top Florida official wrote a letter to the IOC requesting the games be relocated to his state if Tokyo backs out. https://t.co/WixW6xyEfD— HuffPost (@HuffPost)1611720469.0
Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, made the request after rumors began circulating the International Olympic Committee is considering canceling the 2020 Olympic Games, which were delayed a year due to the pandemic.
The IOC called those rumors "categorically untrue," but Patronis was undeterred. He wrote a letter to the committee touting Florida's ample hotel space, top-notch transportation network and 12 universities across the state with sports facilities that could host the various games.
But Florida's biggest asset, according to Patronis, is its officials with a can-do attitude.
"I think most importantly, however, we have a state with leaders who are willing to get this done."
It seems like "willing to not care about the risks of hosting a superspreader event" would be more accurate, given Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's handling of the pandemic and the state's startling virus numbers and death tolls so far.
This, coupled with the fact the pandemic is surging around the world, makes Patronis' idea "mind-bogglingly stupid" in the words of Victor Matheson, an economist and Olympics expert at The College of the Holy Cross.
As Matheson told The Huffington Post:
"Let's be honest here: If Tokyo is not safe enough due to COVID to host the event, there's no way in a million years, Florida is safe enough to host the event. It simply means that Tokyo actually cares about whether they want a mass superspreader event in their city while Florida doesn't."
Even putting the pandemic aside, the idea is "batsh*t crazy" from a logistical standpoint alone, according to Matheson.
"The idea that just because Florida has a lot of hotels that they could organize an entire Olympics event within six months is absolutely crazy."
Matheson wasn't the only one with rather pointed words for Patronis.
Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College, also an economist and Olympics expert, chalked the whole thing up to Patronis' ego.
"This is an idiotic, delusional, uninformed, ignorant Florida politician trying to put his name out there. And whether or not he himself believes this can be done, I don't know. It's got no chance. It's just stupid."
On Twitter, people were similarly gobsmacked.
Many couldn't help but howl with laughter.
If you need to start your day with a big guttural LOL I have just the thing https://t.co/5x2NS1lYeF https://t.co/BBmoeDzpaF— Caroline Moss (@Caroline Moss)1611757284.0
Part of me wants Florida to really go for it. It will be Fyre Festival x 1 million, and I would enjoy watching the… https://t.co/xUdJFCE1Nn— NanksH (@NanksH)1611723564.0
lord please grant me the misplaced confidence of the state of Florida https://t.co/1eW5mcPvm6— Matt Buechele (@Matt Buechele)1611674745.0
👇👇👇article is so funny. Made me laugh on a really bad day. Florida is like the US’ Village Idiot. How many ways ca… https://t.co/a3D5C9wkAI— Jessica Klein (@Jessica Klein)1611698754.0
i'm being 100% honest when i say i would risk my health and safety to go to a chaotic last minute florida olympics https://t.co/1OxXp3Ufe0— 𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙮💤 (@𝙠𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙮💤)1611727348.0
Don't ever let anyone else tell you that their state is the stupidest in the Union as long as Florida exists. https://t.co/npAUMFmhBz— Kingbad 🍩 (@Kingbad 🍩)1611715183.0
This has got to be one of the most breathtakingly stupid things I have ever heard. And I LIVE in Florida. https://t.co/k3vVigeagd— Bill the Cat 🌊 #Resist (@Bill the Cat 🌊 #Resist)1611723404.0
@HuffPost https://t.co/1qzNWwMjmf— Jennifer Goetz (@Jennifer Goetz)1611720948.0
@HuffPost Oh yeah because the USA is Covid free right. Much safer to hold the games there .— Gary Craig (@Gary Craig)1611720818.0
@thehill Let Tokyo host Florida if the Olympics back out.— me (@me)1611674228.0
For its part, the International Olympic Committee has said it has not received Patronis' request and the Games are still set to begin July 23 in Tokyo, with special safety measures implemented to protect everyone from the virus.