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Birmingham Welcomes The World

The crown jewel of the Birmingham Olympic movement.

By Jay Coulter

I had every intention of leading today with the arrest of Alabama linebacker Jimmy Johns. But these things have gotten so old hat lately.  Does a month go by now that an Alabama player is not arrested for something? Tuscaloosa and Compton grow more and more similar by the day.

This story is much more entertaining. The first time I read about it, I honestly thought it was a joke, maybe something appearing on The Onion.  By now you've probably heard, Birmingham is going after the 2020 Summer Olympics. Yeah, those Olympics - as in NBC Sports, Bob Costas and athletes competing in real sports arenas.

In what has to amount to political suicide, Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford said the city would aggressively go after the games. OK, I can't write this without laughing my ass off.  Is this guy serious?

Speaking to the Birmingham City Council, Langford produced a 257-page manual that details how to apply for the games and possible venues to hold the events. Here's the kicker: the application fee is $500,000. Do you realize that Alabama could recruit two Albert Means caliber players for that kind of money?

Here's the quote of the day: "We're the only ones who have difficulty recognizing our own potential," the mayor said.

Larry, I've got to level with you.  There's nobody on earth that sees that kind of potential in Birmingham. Hosting the Papa John's Bowl in front of 25,000 fans is hardly a precursor for landing the Olympic Games.  Make it stop.

Can you see the world converge on refurbished Legion Field?  I can just picture IOC Chairman Jacques Rogge standing outside the Tide-Tiger with a Pabst Blue Ribbon in one hand and a Swisher Sweet in the other.

Picture driving toward the stadium and seeing neighborhood parking attendants decked out with colorful shirts, each representing a foreign country.  "Park here, 20 dollars or 25 Euros. You can piss in our bushes for free with paid parking."

Once the Opening Ceremonies start, you'll hear Bear Bryant's booming voice say, "I ain't nothin but a winner." The rednecks, which won't have tickets, will go crazy outside the stadium and begin firing their shotguns. Sweet Home Alabama will be heard on cassettes all around Legion Field.

To cap things off, Paul Bryant Jr. will take the Olympic torch handoff from Kenny Stabler, who for some reason is not too sure-footed tonight, and will light the Olympic cauldron that is shaped like a houndstooth hat.

Meanwhile, former five-star Alabama football recruits will sell crack and crystal meth out of their trunks to our visitors from around the world.

Let the games begin.