When the U.S. Olympic Committee cut Philly from the list of cities it’s considering putting forward to host the 2016 games, it was blunt about why: In the eyes of the international sporting world, Philadelphia doesn’t have a bad reputation, it has no reputation. We’re the shy, awkward girl in a room full of head-turners: The big studs don’t even know we’re alive.
Solution? A full-fledged international marketing blitz might work. But in the tradition of actually getting invited to the dance before trying to become homecoming queen, local officials are talking about another strategy: pursuing smaller international competitions. Two mentioned specifically are the world championships of the International Judo Federation and the International Badminton Federation.
“That’s how you get to know the people who make the decisions about the Olympics,” says a source close to Philly’s Olympic effort, adding that even if we can’t become host to the championships of those organizations, we may be able to snag their annual meetings.
But let’s not go counting our shuttlecocks before they’re served. Neither the badminton federation (in Malaysia) nor the judo federation (in South Korea) responded to our e-mails.