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COPENHAGEN — The International Olympic Committee stunned the city of Chicago by eliminating the Windy City in the first round of voting to determine which city hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Some observers had proclaimed Chicago was a favorite to land the games, thanks to the presence of President Obama and the First Lady, but America's Second City was the first city eliminated of the final four bidders. Tokyo was the next to fail to make the cut. Member of the IOC will now choose between Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Follow me below for details:

A number of TradMedia outlets, including this morning's Boston Globe, had theorized that Chicago's losing the bid would somehow damage the credibility and reputation of President Obama. IMO, they made that false assumption without understanding the messy geopolitics within the IOC and the Olympic movement in general:

Acting as if he were head of the Chicago chamber of commerce, not the leader of the United States, President Obama is traveling hat in hand to meet with the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen today. He’s pushing for his hometown to host the 2016 Games. In case the judges aren’t dazzled by him and his wife, Michelle, he’s got Oprah Winfrey to help seal the deal. Chicago has much to gain from the Olympics, and no doubt all Americans would love to see the Games on US soil. Obama may help deliver the prize. But he risks diminishing the prestige of his office by mobilizing it behind this narrow cause. And it seems at least possible that some judges will feel so put off by his hard sell that they’ll opt for one of the other finalists.

Of course, the Globe intentionally omitted the fact that each of the heads of state of the final bidders attended the presentations in Copenhagen, so all POTUS was doing was putting Chicago on equal footing with the other bid cities. Moreover, had Obama declined to go, the very same people who criticized him for going, would have ripped into him for NOT going had Chicago still failed to get selected.

The reality is that Chicago was never the favorite except for uninformed members of the media that are ignorant of the Olympics and their history. To date, NO Olympics have ever been held in South America, and the pressure to select Rio is very strong. The fact that Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup certainly won't hurt Rio's chances either.

Rio played up the wow factor of its fabulous scenery, with computer-generated bird's eye images of how venues would be spread across the city, with sailing in the shadow of Sugar Loaf mountain and volleyball on Copacabana beach. The governor of the central bank said Brazil's economic vibrancy should reassure IOC members, and the head of Rio state played down concerns over security.

But Rio's hardest sell was that the IOC could ignore South America no longer.
"It is a time to address this imbalance," Silva said. "It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country."

Our major international sporting events are trying to select new and different locales. For example, next year's World Cup will be in South Africa. The previous Summer Olympics were in China.

Madrid may be an excellent candidate, but I believe it will not be chosen, purely on the IOC's desire to not hold back-to-back Olympics on the same continent. The 2012 games will be held in London, which twice hosted the Olympics (1908 and 1948).

Tokyo may have been eliminated because it too hosted the Olympics, but that was in 1964.

No doubt Wingnuttia will be rejoicing at what they perceive as an epic fail by POTUS.  The failure is Chicago's; not President Obama's. Opposition groups and a budget deficit by the city of Chicago probably played a huge role in the decision to not choose Chicago.

Sometimes these opposition groups do influence the IOC.  A Toronto organization, Bread not Circuses, twice thwarted that city's Olympic bid. This was one of their tactics:

In 1990, the group sent representatives to Tokyo, where the IOC held its final vote, to demonstrate. Atlanta was awarded the 1996 Games, and Toronto finished third in voting. On Friday morning, Bread Not Circuses showed the IOC commission a video depicting ``Toronto's homeless disaster.'' ``This film footage is real and it's just from last month,'' said Cathy Crowe, also from the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee. ``One of the things we wanted to do is expose Toronto's dirty little secret, which is the homeless disaster.'' The coalition says the city would be better served constructing affordable housing on the land earmarked for Olympic venues rather than have billions spent on the Games. ``There seemed to be quite an interest (from the IOC commission) in the points we were making,'' said Jan Borowy, one of the founding members of the coalition. ``They took notes throughout.'

Following the successful tactics of Bread not Circuses, No Games Chicago sent representatives to Copenhagen hoping to influence IOC voters. It appears they were successful.

This was how member Tom Tresser described the group at Huffington Post:

Our purpose then and now is to take a simple message to the members of the IOC -- the people of Chicago do not want the 2016 Olympics. 84% don't want them, according to a recent poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune. 45% don't want the games under any circumstances and 84% don't want public funds used for the party. Since the city has already spent or committed over $240 million for the games (see our tally at the end of this piece), that threshold has already been crossed. Hence 84% of the people of Chicago oppose the bringing of the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, That's a big number, too big, we think, to be ignored.
We ddn't come on a chartered jet and we're not wearing clothes designed by the First Lady's dress maker. No TV crews saw us off and none will welcome us back. We did grassroots fund raising up the last moment to pay for the trip.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Obama's appearance before the IOC was not enough to overcome "politics inside that room" and other factors he believed weighed against Chicago's bid, reported ESPN Chicago.

"Obviously it was disappointing," Axelrod, a former Chicago journalist, told CNN. "It didn't work out but it was worth the effort."

"I don't view this as a repudiation of the president or the first lady," he added.

Indeed, ESPN Chicago actually reported why Chicago failed — unlike their counterparts in the TradMedia.

The European-dominated IOC's last two experiences in the United States were marred by controversy: the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics were sullied by a bribery scandal and logistical problems and a bombing hit the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

The last U.S. city to bid for the Summer Games, New York, did scarcely better. It was ousted in the second round in the 2005 vote that gave the 2012 Games to London. The U.S. Olympic Committee has had a testy relationship with the IOC, including recent flare-ups over revenue sharing and a USOC TV network.

I'm willing to bet that neither of those paragraphs will appear in ANY RW website or even in most newspapers either, but those factors, plus the allure of Rio are why Chicago failed. President Obama was not one of these reasons — much to the chagrin of those elated wingnuts cheering when Chicago's hopes of igniting the Olympic flame were snuffed out.

UPDATE: Rio beat Madrid in the final vote. Brazil will be the first nation in South America to host the Olympics. Congratulations to the people of Rio and the citizens of Brazil. Good luck.

Originally posted to Dirk McQuickly on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 09:50 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rio (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, soms

    Good for them.

    Silence is the enemy - Green Day 4330+ dead - Bring them home

    by Miss Blue on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 09:53:44 AM PDT

  •  You forgot the Bush legacy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, soms

    so aptly asked--"foreigners entering are put through hell" to paraphrase.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 09:53:47 AM PDT

  •  A well done Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pangloss, Dirk McQuigley, ReEnergizer

    I really think the Chicago opposition groups did more to thwart Chicago's chance than some realize. Sad really.

    1,000s of jobs lost when they could use them most. A nose, face issue if there ever was one.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 09:58:54 AM PDT

    •  Just the facts IOC (0+ / 0-)

      This is how Tresser described what No Games Chicago to influence voters:

      "When we went to Switzerland in June we took 100 copies of our "Book of Evidence" that laid out our arguments as to why Chicago would not be an ideal host for the 2016 Olympics. Each of these arguments has been strengthened by developments since then. We're bringing updates to the "Book of Evidence."

      $243 million and counting ...
      $86 million for purchase of Michael Reese Hospital site. Lori Healey, president of the Chicago 2016 committee, has said the purchase of the site has nothing to do with the bid, but at the 2016 community meeting at the Palmer House on August XX Pat Ryan was quizzed by a No Games member and he revealed that they approached the city when their plans for siting the athlete's village over rail tracks proved too expensive.
      $11 million for demolition of the site.
      $1 million for securing the site.
      Unknown millions for cleaning up the site (medical waste)
      $110 million for improving the site.
      $35 million from the Chicago Park District for the construction of the velodrome and kayaking course.

  •  I'm glad. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ids

    Had Chicago's bid been accepted the cycling events would have been held here in Madison, which would have meant a small army of federal 'security experts' camped out fior 4 years corroding the generally pretty good culture of our local Police and Sheriff's Depts.



    Medical Marijuana is Healthcare. does YOUR bill cover it?

    by ben masel on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:01:24 AM PDT

  •  NBC ruined the Olympics last year. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndianaDemocrat

    That's just one more reason why America didn't get the 2016 Games.

    •  ..And USOC pissed off the IOC (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pangloss

      If you noticed this nugget at the end of the diary, then perhaps you understand why Chicago got "burned":

      The U.S. Olympic Committee has had a testy relationship with the IOC, including recent flare-ups over revenue sharing and a USOC TV network.

      That's right, those ass-hats at USOC tried to make an end run and start a network, especially w/o cooperation from NBC.

  •  Congrats to Rio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pangloss

    I was pulling hard for Chicago, thinking it would be a short jaunt from my home outside of Milwaukee. Things didn't work out for us however I'm glad for Rio and hope they put on a fantastic Olympics.

  •  Thanks for a great diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pangloss, justmy2, Dirk McQuigley, HCKAD

    that provides substance about today's results.

    As a Chicagoan, I think the reasons we lost were both local and national.  At a national level, there's still way too much damage to clean up from the Bush years. Despite President Obama's charisma and representation of a new way, the world still needs to see action.

    I think what doomed Chicago's bid was the lack of local support.  I think, deep down, most Chicagoans would have been thrilled to win the Olymipics, were it not for the cronyism, corruption, and government by fiat attitude of the Mayor and City Council.  Many here feel that the Olympics would have made the politically connected richer without doing a damn thing for the average resident.  Compound that with facts like three high school students were beaten to death, or nearly so, in the last week.  Chicagoans want the city's priorities straightened out, and enriching a local plutocracy isn't one of them.

    That's why Rio had half a million people on Copacabana today and declared a state holiday.  Chicago had a few thousand people at the Daley Center.  Make the case that the Olympics will benefit the average Chicago taxpayer, without breaking their backs, and you'll have a few hundred thousand cheering the bid on.

    BTW, I'm glad that Rio won if we didn't.  I hope like hell we get our priorities straight and try again in 2020.  I think our chances would be excellent, especially if we don't have to compete against the "never held in South America" meme.

    •  Vox populi (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ReEnergizer

      In the words of Tom Tresser:

      Our purpose then and now is to take a simple message to the members of the IOC -- the people of Chicago do not want the 2016 Olympics. 84% don't want them, according to a recent poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune. 45% don't want the games under any circumstances and 84% don't want public funds used for the party. Since the city has already spent or committed over $240 million for the games (see our tally at the end of this piece), that threshold has already been crossed. Hence 84% of the people of Chicago oppose the bringing of the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, That's a big number, too big, we think, to be ignored.

      •  What would be interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pangloss

        is to ask the 84% (I have real doubts as to the validity of that number) or the 45% why.

        Chicagoans love their city and are damn proud of it--despite its (and Illinois') politicians.  But we're pissed off about things like the parking meter fiasco, and our trust of local government has dwindled considerably--not that there was much there to begin with.

        My guess is that it's distrust of our elected officials, rather than any issue with the city or Olympics themselves, that created this backlash.

        •  Money — or the lack of – talks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ReEnergizer

          Once again Mr. Tresser:

          Like the Republicans, it is easier to be against something than for something, but there really is a logic to the numbers that No Games Chicago presented.

          $12 million in lost revenues from 1,600 boat slips taken off line for three seasons.
          $1 billion (probably much more) for security.
          Unknown cost for destroying acres of priceless park land and making them unavailable to Chicagoans for years.
          And if there are significant shortfalls or cost overruns, $500 million from the city and $250 million from the state (plus another $250 million for downstate pork projects to mollify the non-Chicago legislators.

        •  i bet the 84% was an online poll. makes a nice (0+ / 0-)

          headline, especially if you don't have to admit they're laughable in terms of accuracy.

          A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. -- Maya Angelou

          by birdbrain64 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:59:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Copacabana looks like fun today... (0+ / 0-)

      When you look at the uproar just about the President visiting, it is hard to say to yourself, "hmm, they really want us"...

      We didn't want it, we didn't get it...

      Simple as that.. IOC also may have had an issue with the way Obama visited...

      The short stopover was "too business-like," Holm said. "It can be that some IOC members see it as a lack of respect."

      "Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck"-Jim Cornette

      by justmy2 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 11:01:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good for you and good for Chicago! (0+ / 0-)

    I just don't understand how having the Olympics would have been anything but a net loss to the city and its people.  

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:22:21 AM PDT

    •  Well throw in the (0+ / 0-)

      1,000's of jobs that won't happen now and yeah a real win for Chicago residence who could probably have used them.

      In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

      by jsfox on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:29:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One small detail. (0+ / 0-)

        Those jobs would be financed with public dollars.  There's no IOC check that's cut to the city to build that stuff, you know. If job creation is important, and it is, Chicago w/o the Olympics is free to create the jobs that produce the best social and multiplier effects, rather than merely the jobs that the Olympics calls for.  Who knows, some of those jobs might even be for something other than construction, and might therefore benefit people who aren't men of a certain body type!

        Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

        by Rich in PA on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:48:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually this is not (0+ / 0-)

          always true.

          Example. The stadium in Atlanta was built by Ted Turner. Salt Lake another example where private capital took a lot of the burden, hence the reason Salt Lake came out ahead financially.

          The Olympics can make money for the host city. However in order to do so there must be a partnership between public and private money. When the burden is strictly public, Russia and Athens the most glaring examples they loose heavily.

          In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

          by jsfox on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 11:04:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There is no pot of money lying around (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jsfox

      with a choice of wasting it on the Olympics OR solving many of the problems in our city.  If Chicago had won, at least there would have been attention to the problems (schools, violence, jobs, inequality, etc.).  

      Absent the Olympics, those problems will just fester for several more years.  Where is the political will and focused resolve going to come from now that there isn't a defined focus on civic improvement?  The answer is... I have no idea.  And neither do the people that organized against the Olympics-- all they offered was the false choice between spending money that doesn't exist on social problems or spending money that would exist on the Olympics.

      "Just relax and let the hooks do their work." -- Ned Flanders

      by Pangloss on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:32:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's think about this (0+ / 0-)

        Where has the Olympics ever brought meaningful and sustained attention to the host city's social problems?

        So that's what crickets sound like!

        Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

        by Rich in PA on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:49:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Several places... (0+ / 0-)

          Just last year, Beijing made hurculean efforts to improve their air quality.  Concerns about the openness of Chinese society were broadcast around the world, and it may have opened up the Internet and other areas of Chinese society.

          The Barcelona Olympics in 1992 highlighted tensions with Catalan nationalist sentiment and domestic terrorism.

          Athens in 2004 included sorely needed  transportation investments in the airport, metro, tram, suburban rail, highways and pedestrian improvements.

          The Berlin Olympics in 1936 brought world attention to Hitler and his policies.

          I could go on.  I was in LA in 1984, and it didn't have a major long lasting impact, except it made money and Los Angeles had a huge population spurt.

          "Just relax and let the hooks do their work." -- Ned Flanders

          by Pangloss on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 02:39:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is an epic fail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndianaDemocrat

    All of the rationalizing here about why this isn't so bad, or this or that group caused Chicago to lose misses the point.  President Obama put his political cache on the line --with Oprah in tow-- and loses big.

    This at the same time unemployment figures are out careening toward 10 percent, while even Robert Reich says that the figure would be much higher due to the people that have dropped out of even trying to find work or lost benefits.  

    Add to that the comments about Afghanistan this week, car sales are way down post-artificial clunker uptick, Sarah Palin's book at number 1, and not aided by Letterman's foibles...it's not a good week for the administration.  

    Republicans smell blood in the water, and as little as they bring to the table, just being the opposition party is enough now to create the impression of a workable alternative.  

    Yeah, this is not a good time for the administration at all.  The bloom is falling off the rose, and personal charisma isn't going to carry the day any longer.  

    How did we get here?  

    •  Please it is no such thing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina, Dirk McQuigley

      Every other leader from the remaining countries was there. He met with McChrystal while he was there and he was gone for a whole 18 hours. Good grief.

      But hey thanks for spouting RW talking points

      In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

      by jsfox on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 10:33:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wingers "claiming" victory and cause and effect (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina

      I really think you need to better educate yourself on the Olympics and on the petty personal politics of IOC members. The IOC is corrupt hence why the people running the Salt Lake Olympics (actually before Mittens took over) were bribing individual members. There are around 100 voting IOC members and given what happened in Salt Lake, I doubt that Chicago was going around bribing them. These IOC officials are used to getting freebies and having their asses kissed.

      Did POTUS suffer collateral damage from Chicago's failure? Yes. But much to the chagrin of the RW, this is b.s. inside baseball that losers like Chris Matthews and others speculate who "won" this day or week. By the end of the month, few Americans will even care about Chicago losing since they have much more pressing problems.

      Judging by your litany of complaints, I detect a concern troll.

    •  It Became His When He Got Off The Plane (0+ / 0-)

      With Oprah and a huge media show in tow.
      All he has to show for it is FAILURE.

      And anyone who denies that simply isn't living in the real world. He staked his own political capital on this, and lost.

      They HAD to know that his enemies would run with this.

      Whoever is advisng him on this is a MORON...

      •  Good maybe its time America learns a little (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Micheline

        humility. Heads of states were there to pitch for their nations because they actually care about their nations. In this country its all politics. 24/7. Should I support my nation or not, oh what will the republicans say?

        I think he went and met with the general too right?

        So what its a failure. Is it the end of the world. I hate to break to you but there will be more failures to come. If this is a failure then I must say America is indeed in a sad state of affairs.

      •  Lazy TradMedia meme (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HCKAD, IndianaDemocrat

        If I was assigning blame for Chicago's failure, I would say that corruption, and the parking meter fiasco as well as the opposition within the city for these corporate games was the biggest factor.

        By your logic, Obama failed no more or no less than the Japanese PM or potentially King Juan Carlos of Spain. The difference is that they are not a "celebrity" like our President. IMO most of the hack journalists in Copenhagen would not have been there but for the presence of Barack Obama. So they come up with an intellectually lazy frame that this is the fault of the President.

        You seem to be concern trolling so perhaps you should consider the scenario if Obama did not go to Copenhagen:

        had Obama declined to go, the very same people who criticized him for going, would have ripped into him for NOT going had Chicago still failed to get selected.

        With the wing nuts and a lazy press corps, this was a heads I win, tails I lose situation. The fact is that POTUS was willing to risk something to accomplish something for Chicago. Sitting on his ass and not going was never an option. The fact that he has lived in Chicago for over a decade made it nearly impossible for him to blow this off.

        •  Live By The Media, Die By It (0+ / 0-)

          If BIDEN had gone, as VP's have gone in the past, this wouldn't be a big deal.

          But OBAMA went, with celebrities and press people in the entourage, and now that failure can be pinned DIRECTLY to him.

          For such a smart person, he had to KNOW this was freakin' stupid!

  •  Not to mention... (0+ / 0-)

    I think the freezing cold in the winter leading up to the event probably didn't help...

    The last place with that issue was Montreal I assume...

    "Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck"-Jim Cornette

    by justmy2 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 11:00:00 AM PDT

    •  Moscow (0+ / 0-)

      Or did you forget the fruitless 1980 Olympic Boycott.

      BTW, the Olympics in Rio will occur at the end of their winter season and just before the start of spring.

      •  You are correct...I guess I just assume (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirk McQuigley

        that didn't happen...purged from memory...HA

        Good catch...

        And regarding Rio, the run-up will be in the summer like Sydney, and it will be a fine place for IOC members to hang for the preceding years...Rio's 70 degree winters are not exactly a bad thing...

        "Republicans drove the country into a ditch and now they are complaining about the cost of the tow truck"-Jim Cornette

        by justmy2 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 11:23:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The best cities don't always win (0+ / 0-)

    Two of the cities in the US that have hosted the Olympics did not deserve to have them: Lake Placid, NY and Atlanta.

    Lake Placid is a quaint little village in the Adirondacks that is a one street town and they wowed Olympians with sumptuous accomodations that were later turned into a prison. Seriously.

    Atlanta is a fourth rate city that no one would live in if not for air conditioning. This crap hole is best known for burning to the ground during the Civil War and little has improved since. The two biggest tourist attractions there are a frakkin shopping mall (Underground Atlanta) and the Coca Cola Museum. IMO, if not for the fact that Coke is headquartered in Atlanta, the games should have been in a real "international" city like Toronto.

  •  Oh well (0+ / 0-)

      we tried. They gave it to Rio. They'll put on a great show and life will go on. Chicago can file another bid next time. Too bad though...I was kinda hoping for a close look at the Olympics.

    •  Fifth time the charm (0+ / 0-)

      Chicago has an infamous history of failed Olympic bids (something I didn't touch upon in my diary). The Windy City was awarded the 1904 Olympics but they were moved to St. Louis. Chicago organizers were concerned that the St. Louis World's Fair would monopolize tourists.

      Chicago also bid unsuccessfully in 1952 and 1956. The city hosted the 1959 Pan-American Games.

  •  Chicago beating video a factor? (0+ / 0-)

    Did the recent video of the beating death of a Chicagoan influence the IOC decision or was it a non-factor?

  •  Interesting about the 2002 and 1996 debacles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirk McQuigley

    What do they have in common? RWnuts.

    Sure the teabaggers and threats of Civil War were not helpful.

    "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" --- President Barack Obama, 1-20-2009.

    by tier1express on Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 11:47:15 AM PDT

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