But Tulsa, its boosters argue, offers something that big-ticket American rivals like Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas can only dream of — the vast frontier of America.
This part of the country produced Woody Guthrie and Jim Thorpe. Neon signs still glow along Route 66. J. Paul Getty made his first million in Tulsa nearly a century ago, and the city’s Art Deco buildings have survived booms, busts and tornadoes. “The larger cities aren’t truly representative of what the real America is,” said Jennifer Jones of the Tulsa 2024 bid committee. “The real America is the midsize cities, and we want people to see America.” …
Tulsa would be among the smallest cities to host the Summer Games in the modern era, and even some of Tulsa’s strongest advocates acknowledge that this might not be the most Olympian of cities at first glance. Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. originally had a hard time picturing Tulsa joining the ranks of London; Tokyo; Athens; Barcelona, Spain; and other hosts of the Summer Games.
“I thought, what are you, nuts?” he said in an interview in City Hall.