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The 1968 Detroit Olympics [video]

Do Vancouver’s gleaming towers and vibrant waterfront that they keep showing during NBC’s Olympic coverage remind you of Detroit? No. Me neither.

But back in the day, just before the city entered its downward spiral, Detroit too made a bid for the Olympics.  It was America’s candidate city for the 1968 summer games. They were eventually awarded to Mexico City, but Detroit put together a pretty snazzy presentation to market itself. Thanks to the interwebs we can still see those promo videos.

The videos, narrated by Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, show the city circa 1965 and its (kind of creepy) modernist vision for itself. As someone who grew up in Metro Detroit, I found these videos amazing. They are a little long, but worth watching, particularly if your mental image of Detroit looks like this.

Here are some more videos of Detroit’s presentation to the IOC that detail the proposed venues and Olympic Village.

And remember, “the city on the straights welcomes you to share that vision as it continues to plan, to build and yes, to dream.”

[the D spot]

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  1. Heesa Phadie says:

    “…where once lay the ugliness, the poverty and sickness of slums has been commended and cleared. Such progress in medical facilities and research attracts the nations leading doctors and surgeons. ”

    “Detroit, an exciting place to be, to live, to grow, to work shoulder to shoulder regardless of national origin, color or creed. Detroit has earned outstanding in community relations, a reputation that is nationally recognized.”

    Oh man this is good…there are too many gems in there. I would love for them to watch this now-a-days and see how they stack up to their Utopian view of their future selves. You’ve certainly got me laughing sir. Great find.

    I do however love JFK’s sincerity in which he believes they stand a chance. The Mexico City Olympics was quite a grand games as I’ve heard.

    1. nowooski says:

      The first quote you posted was my favorite. Beside the highways, the big medical center was one of the only parts of the modernist vision of the city that actually got built.

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