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  • OpEd -- Sport Collides with Peace in New York City


    Workers dismantle the finish line for the New York City Marathon. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) In the tangled aftermath of Hurricane Sandy lies the 2012 New York Marathon.
    Today’s race was cancelled when those in charge came to their senses after first declaring it would help lift
    the stricken city.

    Tragedy trumps sport, which is often seen myopically as a great healer for social woes.

    As the storm’s damage and the toll it was taking on the lives of New Yorkers became more apparent, the politics of cancelling the race also became apparent.

    New Yorkers who need the hotel rooms, water, electrical generators, police and other resources meant for the marathon were right to complain about this disconnect. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was right to reverse course, listening to the people he serves and not displaced runners. Many athletes took financial hits as well as to their training.

    The question of cancelling the New York Marathon came up in 2001 after the terrorist attacks that killed 3,000+ and leveled the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Two months later, that went on because there was no immediate crisis to face such as the devastation of Sandy. Doubtless, had the 9/11 attacks instead occurred just days before the marathon, the event would have been cancelled.

    Yes, professional football is on tap Sunday across the river from
    ATR Editor Ed Hula
    New York in deeply-stricken New Jersey. Thought was given to postponing the game between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers but it will be played - and used as a symbol of the salve of sport.

    With two NFL teams in New York using the same stadium, a game takes place nearly every weekend. This is far more routine than accommodating 47,000 runners for a 26-mile trek through a suffering city.

    Whether physical, emotional or financial, the wounds will take a
    while to heal. New York stood back up after the wallop of 9/11 and made a bid for the Olympics. Until Sandy, a second try for the Games -- perhaps in 2024 -- might have moved forward over the next year as the U.S. Olympic Committee figures out its strategy for a new bid from an American city.

    There is now a new number-one priority facing Bloomberg and New York City that rightly must be faced before murmurs about the Olympics become appropriate. And a new bid from New York City (or any other East Coast city) will almost certainly include the specter of hurricane season in the U.S., a period that cruelly includes the dates reserved for the Summer Olympics.

    Written by Ed Hula For general comments or questions, click here 20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.