Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Chicago Lost

Before the spin doctors completely fold and mutilate the analysis of why Chicago lost the 2016 Olympics bid, here's my analysis:

* This isn't about Chicago losing as much as Rio winning. I believe the International Olympic Committee was stoked about bringing the games to South America for the first time ever. Rio's carnival atmosphere also plays right into that multicultural look and feel the Committee is looking for. You look at the pitch reel for Chicago (which was shown during the selection show as broadcast on CNN) and it looks like the Windy City is selling the Blues Brothers Olympics. It sounded too, well, American. The IOC just doesn't dig that beat.

* We've had plenty of Games. The U.S.A. has hosted Olympics four times in the last three decades (Lake Placid, 1980; Los Angeles, 1984; Atlanta, 1996; Salt Lake City, 2006). You can't say the IOC hasn't thrown us some love.

* I don't believe the theory of lingering resentment against the U.S. dating back to the Moscow Boycott. Where was that resentment when we landed the Games in 1996 and 2006? If there's any resentment, it may be more for the U.S.'s heavy dependence on corporate sponsorship, which a lot of people see as tacky.

* For all of the above reasons, this is not a referendum on President Obama. Flying to Denmark for a last-minute pitch, however, looked a little desperate.

All things considered, Chicago losing is not a bad thing at all. Support for the Olympics was less than solid in the first place, and we haven't even touched the gigantic cost factors. Ask somebody in Montreal about The Big Owe. As for publicity and tourism, why not stick with the Blues Brothers?

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