From my vantage point, $50,000,000 is a lot of cheese just to be one of the four finalists for the 2016 Olympic Games. Especially if this money was provided by the City of Chicago, and not private largesse1
[Anti-Olympic Fever! Catch It!2 ]
After spending $50 million showing off Chicago and circling the globe to hobnob with the world’s sporting potentates, civic boosters pursuing the 2016 Olympic Games are fretting over one last detail: Will Chicago’s First Citizen, President Barack Obama, travel to Europe next month to make the final pitch to the International Olympic Committee?
Chicago’s rivals plan to send their own heavyweights to Copenhagen for the Oct. 2 vote: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for Rio de Janeiro; King Juan Carlos for Madrid; and Japan’s crown prince and princess for Tokyo.
Mayor Richard Daley has led Chicago’s charge for 2016, but an appearance by Mr. Obama in Copenhagen would be the trump card. The White House “certainly knows that we would like him to come,” says Patrick Ryan, founder of Aon Corp. and leader of the bid committee.
[Click to continue reading For 2016 Olympic Contenders, the Games Have Now Begun – WSJ.com]
previous bids have been derailed by blabbing politicians:
In the weeks leading up to the decision, Paris was the presumed favorite over London and New York City. But [Prime Minister Tony] Blair arrived for the final IOC session in Singapore three days early, and proceeded to receive a phalanx of IOC members. [French President Jacques] Chirac arrived fashionably late.…
London won by four votes over Paris; New York was eliminated in an earlier round. The voting is secret, but a number of IOC members later said Mr. Blair’s lobbying was likely decisive.
Mr. Chirac also might have lost votes when, in the company of fellow world leaders, he took a Gallic swipe at British cuisine: “After Finland,” he said, “it’s the country with the worst food.”
Finland had two members on the IOC during that host city election — perhaps the votes that pushed London over the top.
Loose lips also might have damaged Toronto’s pitch to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Toronto was thought to be a robust candidate for the Games, until the city’s mayor, speaking before a trip to Africa, said he feared ending up in a pot of boiling water, surrounded by dancing natives. Instead, he was likely scalded by the IOC’s African members, who often provide swing votes in host-city elections, as the continent itself rarely puts forth a bid.
I have decidedly mixed feelings about Chicago’s bid to host the Games. I suspect a lot of debt will be incurred in the name of taxpayers, and for what? Crowds of international tourists, above and beyond the crowds of international tourists we already have? Money not spent on parks, bridges and schools, but instead spent building infrequently used sport stadiums, on land owned by friends of Mayor Daley? Of course, we, the citizens of Chicago, have decidedly not been asked our opinion, because we are skeptical of the actual practical benefits of being an Olympic City.
Update: Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 gamesFootnotes: