Minot, North Dakota — As the Winter Olympics wrap up in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Olympic fever has spread to North Dakota, as International Olympic Committee officials announced they are considering the Flickertail State to be the permanent home of the winter games, according to multiple sources.
The Olympic Games have faced growing criticism as host nations often spend billions of dollars to build facilities and infrastructure that is utilized for a short period of time, and often go to waste after the games are over. Finding a permanent home for the Winter Olympics would alleviate unnecessary costs.
North Dakota, according to officials, would be an ideal home for future winter Olympics.
“It just makes sense to move the games somewhere that is in a perpetual winter, and North Dakota fits that bill,” says IOC Climate Specialist Bjorn Eriksson. “We were also eyeing Antarctica, but every year it continues to melt and North Dakota only grows colder. And with some of the largest German and Norwegian populations in the country, and its close proximity to Canada, North Dakota is ideal.”
Multiple locations are being considered for the Winter Olympic village with Minot as the front-runner.
“Medora has the ‘Olympic Village’ vibe but then we heard about Minot,” says Eriksoon. “Not only is it used to playing host to multiple countries during the annual Norsk Hostfest, they’ve even got the equivalent of an Olympic torch, right in the center of town!”
The torch Eriksson refers to is the Sondre Norheim Eternal Flame, built to commemorate Sondre Norheim, the pioneer and father of modern-day skiing. Lit on December 4, 1993 in Minot, the flame originates from the fireplace of Sondre Norheim’s birthplace in Norway. The flame was transported to Minot by North Dakota Governor Edward Schafer on a Norsk Hostfest sponsored trip. The torch is housed in a globe, which represents the many contributions to the sport of skiing that Norheim gave the world, and is elevated above five aluminum skiis, symbolic of the five Scandinavian countries.
“There’d be no finer Olympic Torch than the Sondre Norheim flame in Minot,” says Eriksson.
Senator John Hoeven, a Minot native, is rumored to have lobbied the International Olympic Committee on the Magic City’s behalf due to his passion for curling. A senior member of Hoeven’s staff revealed to the Flickertail Times on condition of anonymity, that Hoeven is actually a founding member of a secret society within the United States Senate, known only as “The Curling Caucus.”
“They get together on Thursdays in an undisclosed location under the United States Capitol,” said a senior staff member to Senator Hoeven. “There, they hash out the world’s affairs on a secretive curling rink. You name it — tax-reform, health care, North Korea, nothing is passed through congress without the stamp of approval from the Curling Caucus. Forget what you heard about a ‘deep state’ running the government. It’s nonsense. There’s the President, Congress, and the Curling Caucus.”
While no official sites in North Dakota have been confirmed to host future winter events, satellite images obtained by the Flickertail Times show significant activity at least one site at Bottineau Winter Park, about 88 miles from Minot near the US/Canadian border. Signs of significant activity including recent clearings suggest the Bottineau Winter Park could be getting ready to build future Winter Olympic Game venues, with plenty of room for North Dakota’s first bobsled track, or perhaps additional alpine skiing courses.
North Dakota has additional infrastructure that could be used for hosting additional games. With no shortage of ice arenas in the region, the hockey could find a home in Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks or the Scheels Sports Arena in Fargo. Figure skating and speed skating could also be easily accommodated in North Dakota at multiple venues.
Lars Fjord, a senior International Olympic Committee diplomat, says hosting the games in Minot and Bottineau, near the International Peace Gardens, would be a strong symbolic gesture.
“The Peace Gardens embodies the Olympic spirit,” says Fjord. “It sends a message to all nations that peace, diplomacy, and friendship are the keys to international prosperity.”
It should be noted that the International Peace Gardens recently underwent renovations. No word on if the construction was related to rumors that the winter games could be coming to North Dakota.
When asked to comment about the Winter Games coming to Minot, Governor Doug Burgum laughed, but didn’t dismiss the rumor.
“Well you know what they say in Minot — ‘Only the Best Come North”, so don’t be surprised if you hear more about this soon,” said Burgum.
While no official announcement has been made, city officials in the Magic City are excited at the prospect of North Dakota hosting the winter games.
“If there’s one thing we don’t have a shortage of, it’s Krouts, Norwegians, and cold here in Minot,” said a Minot City Commissioner. “As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier. I just hope they manage to bring down-hill skiing to Minot. Hiawatha Street has got to be the steepest slope in the state. I can’t imagine a better place for the event.”
Some Minot residents are already placing bets on who, or what the official mascot of the games will be, while others have voiced concern over security if the games do come to the Flickertail State.
“It could be anything. Ole and Lena? Wally the Walleye? Sandy the Sandhill Crane? New Salem Sue? Josh Duhamel? Your guess is as good as mine,” said a Minot resident. “I hope they open up a competition to let residents decide who the mascot should be.”
In addition to its close proximity to Canada, Minot is an ideal location from a defense perspective, according to security experts. Minot is just minutes from one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals, including nuclear-capable B-52 bombers housed at the Minot Air Force Base, and multiple LGM-30 Minuteman ICBMs, scattered across the northern prairie.
If Minot’s location isn’t enough to convince skeptics that the winter games could be coming to North Dakota, consider that construction was recently completed at the Minot International Airport, making it one of the largest airfields in the state.
“Well, why not Minot? I think this is such great news, and it could really boost our economy,” says a lifelong Minot resident. “I just hope it doesn’t mean North Dakota is going to become a target of terrorism. But we do have quite a stockpile of nukes here, and usually the cold is enough to keep the rift-raft out, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
*The Flickertail Times is a satirical news blog focusing on all things North Dakotan. Feedback? We’d love to hear it! Send us anything and everything to: [email protected]