Alabama City May Bid for 2020 Olympic Games

Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996
Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford
Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- If Georgia can host the Olympics, why not Alabama? The mayor of Birmingham says he wants to try.

The 1996 Olympic games gave Atlanta international clout and a huge economic boost. Mayor Larry Langford says he wants the same thing now for Birmingham. He announced he is forming a committee to try and win the 2020 summer games.

"It's going to be a lot of work to coordinate and put it all together," Langford admitted. "But we can do this."

To attract such a large event, Birmingham would need more hotel rooms, a bigger airport, and better infrastructure -- not to mention that domed stadium the city has been trying to build for years.

"That would be the one thing they need for opening ceremonies," said Marc Riker, director of the Alabama Sports Festival.

Riker is in charge of the Alabama State Games, which mimic the Olympics, but on a smaller scale. He says Langford's plan would also make use of venues outside of Birmingham, like Auburn's Jordan-Hare stadium.

"We matched all the venues in the Olympic games to venues in and around the city of Birmingham," Langford explained.

"It's true. With UAB, Alabama and Auburn, along with other universities in the Birmingham metro area, you have venues that could host international competitions," said Riker.

Atlanta hosted some if its events in other parts of the state. Whether a similar strategy would work for Birmingham is yet to be seen.

Birmingham does have experience in bidding on large events. It was runner up for the 2013 Senior Games, which would have brought 10,000 senior athletes to the city.

Langford says it's worth another try. At least one city council member agreed, saying that even if Birmingham doesn't win the Olympics, simply going after them could improve the city's image.

Only one U.S. city can make it into the international Olympic bidding process. This year, it's Chicago, which is hoping to win the 2016 games.

The 2008 Olympics get underway next month in Beijing.

Reporter: Mark Bullock