Was chatting up Michael Johnson the other day about the relative impact of the looming Super Bowl XLV in comparison to what he's seen happen to Olympic cities. Economic impact, enduring legacies, improved infastructures and whatnot.
Johnson, a five-time gold medalist and Dallas' most decorated Olympian, had two interesting points.
1. Dallas, once and for all, can prove to the world it's not Dallas.
2. Dallas, in theory, is capable of some day hosting an Olympics.
He's serious, on both accounts.
"A lot of the key components in Dallas are already in place as far as venues and hotels and local universities," Johnson says. "It could happen."
The fact that the Dallas 2012 project barely got off the ground and the fact that we can't even build a friggin' bridge over the Trinity River without sinking into a levee notwithstanding, Johnson says erasing a well-worn stereotype is a more realistic possibility when the world watches Super Bowl XLV in Arlington. Dallas has the chance to sharpen its world-wide image as a progressive, modern area highlighted more with technology than tumbleweeds, and more with global headquarters than 10-gallon hats.
"Traveling the world the last 20 years it's amazing what a lot of the world thinks about north Texas," says Johnson. "Trust me, the TV show Dallas is still huge is Europe. Still. So many people see us as oil wells and cowboy hats, riding horses to work. I'm not saying there's not a certain charm to that, and it's definitely a part of our culture. But north Texas - Arlington and Dallas and Fort Worth - is so much more than that. It's a progressive, vibrant place with cutting edge companies and technology and new urbanism. It'll be nice to be able to put that part on display for the world to see for a change."
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go plow the back 40.