Detroit Was One Vote Away From Hosting the 1968 Olympics



If not for a small twist of fate, Detroit would have hosted the 1968 Olympic Games. The games were held in Mexico City, and as the world watched, organizers in Detroit sat heartbroken after coming in second place in their bid to host the games in the city. Even President Kennedy pushed to hold the games in Detroit. Detroit offered Wayne State University's campus for the Olympic village, the state fairgrounds for the stadium, Belle Isle and the Detroit River for a one-of-a-kind rowing facility, and a lower altitude, which would have been better for athletes than the air of Mexico City. Detroit had 19 venues, with organizers saying they could host all of the games within a 20-mile radius. So, what happened? Mexico City won the bid by one vote. The difference maker was Mexico City offering 20 cents more per day to feed the athletes. Sadly, Detroit has made the most bids to hold the Olympics of any city without ever winning a bid.