PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—Emphasizing the country's warm tropical climate, vibrant culture, and long-term plans to cultivate farmland capable of sustaining actual crops, the Haitian Olympic Committee formally announced its bid Monday to host the 2216 Summer Games.
Organizers of the LXXXI Olympiad, which would be held in the capital city of Port- au-Prince, said the event will showcase the many attractions that are sure to be conceptualized, financed, and constructed over the next 207 years.
"These Olympics will be the greatest the world has ever seen, provided inflation doesn't render the Gourd worthless and we manage to stumble into some kind of lasting stability in the next 20 decades or so," declared committee president Jean-Edouard Baker, standing beside a stack of burning tire shavings where he believes the Olympic flame may one day be housed. "2216 is our time."
Haitian leaders believe Port-au-Prince to be the ideal location for the games due to a number of civic improvements that could, in theory, be made there.
According to Baker, the city will try to compensate for its lack of passable roads and safe bridges by building a high-speed rail system which, "with a little luck," might someday connect to an Olympic village.
"This is the place where we may be able to possibly erect an aquatics center," said Baker, gesturing to a partially submerged field piled high with rusted-out Jeeps. "We're hoping that within a century or two we'll be able to raise enough food to feed enough workers to move enough dirt to make a hole deep enough to contain an Olympic-size pool."
Added Baker, "We don't have much in the way of potable water, but that hole ought to fill on its own when the next hurricane strikes."
Representatives from the International Olympic Committee flew to Port-au-Prince Monday to survey the proposed site, landing on the country's longest of four paved runways. A brief and heavily armored tour of the city's marathon route gave planners the chance to show visiting delegates the many wonders that may eventually make up Haiti.
A banquet was held that afternoon in a dilapidated structure that local officials plan to tear down and rebuild as a multipurpose stadium. They said they hope to name the facility after a great leader who will rise to power at some point in the future—perhaps in the 22nd century—and bring peace and prosperity to the Haitian people.
Between bursts of automatic gunfire and the frantic screams of U.N. peacekeepers deployed in the area, Haiti made its case to the IOC.
"We want at some point to begin neutering the stray-animal population, so that elite runners from around the world will not have to leap over so many frail and lethargic dogs in order to cross the finish line," urban designer Antoinne Darbouze told IOC representatives. "And yes, once we can get our hands on enough asphalt, we'll have roads in places where they're absolutely necessary."
A local artisan also gave a presentation at the banquet, showing attendees how replicas of Olympic medals could be carved from indigenous fruits and then dyed colors that are similar to gold, silver, and bronze.
"By 2216, we hope that Haiti will be an inspirational place for the world's greatest athletes to compete," said René Préval, president of Haiti, a nation whose government has been repeatedly ranked as the most corrupt in the world. "And who knows, at that point our great-great-great-grandchildren may have eliminated the near-constant threat of protozoal diarrhea."
Despite the many challenges faced by the small island nation, the IOC remained confident that Haiti is, in the sense that it has not yet been officially eliminated from consideration, a real contender for the games.
"Haiti has a long way to go to meet our standards," said IOC president Jacques Rogge, pushing away a goat that had entered through a hole in the wall and was craning its neck to reach his plate. "They need to do a lot to build up their sporting facilities and hotel infrastructure, in addition to improving environmental conditions, developing a financial sector, and quelling civil unrest."
"We're not going to make any decisions for the next 200 years," Rogge continued. "Though after seeing Haiti firsthand, I can honestly say the country faces some stiff competition from Atlantis."