Rio Takes Home Gold

So how many of us woke up on October 2nd and spent the entire day on pins and needles?  I for one, sat ear glued to the radio waiting for those fabulous words, "the U.S. has won again."  But to my dismay the words never came.  I was crushed like a bug when I found out that the World Olympic Committee kicked us in the teeth while we were down.  Shame on them.  What were they thinking?


Not only was Rio picked as the venue of choice to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games, but also the U.S. was the first country booted out of the competition.  Why oh why did they forsake us so?  We gave it our best shot.  We even sent in our A team.  You know the big guy himself: Mr. Obama. He came to his adopted home state's rescue in the last quarter of the game while wildly overshadowing his own wife and that other big O's (Oprah) efforts.  In the end would it have been a better plea without all the throngs of clambering media that follow our country's star player?   I doubt it.


In my utter curiosity I had to know what made Rio a Better choice than Tokyo, Madrid and our own fair city of Chicago.   I have been to all four of these great cities.  Not to be biased, but Chicago is one of my all time favorite cities.  Hands down they have the nicest people in the land and don't get me started on the amazing food.  Not to mention all of the great things to see like the McCormick Aquarium, The McCormic, museum, the McCormick Center, etc.; yes, the McCormick family practically owns the town. Why then was Chicago not tops on the OAC's list? The quest for a reason ensued. 

I can see why they booted Tokyo.  In the summer the surface of the sun may be a bit cooler than Tokyo.  Mostly because the sun is a dry heat and Tokyo is very, very hot and sticky in the summer.  It's not pretty folks.  Then you have the added pleasure of millions of sweaty people, with no sense of personal space. Pass on Tokyo.

Madrid is a cool town.  Granted not nearly as cool as their counterpart, Barcelona, but none the less a cool city.  There are lots of exciting things to see in Madrid if you're into old churches and great buildings.   Couple that with outstanding food and the occasional bull fight and you have a great city.  Their bid was a nice one, not very flashy and not too convincing.  Their biggest flaw would be that they didn't have money set in place and they needed a lot of new venues.  That and the fact that Europe has hosted 28 Olympic games in the past could have sunk them.

This brings us to the big question. What is wrong with Chicago?  Why don't they love us?  Lets start with the basics. The U.S. has played host to seven Olympic games; three alone were here in our fair state of California.  South America has hosted never played host to the games. South America holds close to a third of the world's population and yet they have never been host to the Olympic games.  Maybe they just thought it was their time? 

Chicago's bid came in many forms.  They had a video presentation, which can be viewed on the website, Chicago2016.  Coming from the country with the most successful movie industry in the world, they really could have hit a home run here. Sadly they didn't. 

I watched it and was dying for them to turn it off.  Set to "Sweet Home Chicago," it was really a feeble attempt to show off how cool Chi-Town really is.  That said, the bid itself fell a little short of the other cities.  Chicago is a big city, but one without too much room to grow.  Their proposal didn't add too many new venues and the ones that they wanted to add didn't seem too spectacular. 

They appeared shoved into local parks taking away the much-needed green space from this tight city.  Nor did they seem to have found a real use for them after the games.  Another big no, no was that the Olympians training centers would be housed in venues like a local High School.  I mean common, they proposed to use McCormick place for 50 percent of the venues.  This venue is a convention center; they host the annual candy show here. That doesn't sound like a place where gymnasts could easily do a routine. All in all Chicago's bid fell short of the razzle-dazzle of Rio and the other venues.  It looked like they were trying to make it fit in a city where it just wouldn't work.

Then there is Rio.  Have you ever seen Rio?  It's beautiful.  Sandwiched between lush, forest-covered mountains and breathtaking beaches Rio is the jewel of South America. Their Copacabana beach is one of the world's most spectacular beaches and is a gateway to all kinds of water sports like surfing and diving. The weather is a beautiful 85 degrees most of the year.  Perfect for sports events, and this is a town that was built on holding parties.

Every year they host millions of people for their annual Carnaval celebration as well as their New Years events.  Yes, millions.  Tourists from all over the world flock to Brazil for their famous celebrations featuring gorgeous "Gisele" types prancing around in the tiniest of feathered outfits. 

Not only can Rio keep the Olympians happy and full of things to do, they came to the table with a full package.  According to their official Olympic bid website, Rio2016, financing is already in place.  Not to mention as the hosts for the 2007 Pan American games, most of the stadiums they need for the event are already in place and are all state of the art facilities. 

The ones that are not already built are slated to start construction this year as they are hosting the 2012 World cup games. You know they had to build a great stadium for that.  Unlike us football watchers here in the US, soccer is king in Brazil.  Their plans for the new soccer stadium are outstanding. Best of all for the Olympic Games Committee, not construction will be built on their dime. In the end I see the reasons for picking Rio over the US.  It isn't personal.  In these hard economic times – it was the best choice.  It was South America's turn.  Plus who wouldn't want to spend a few weeks toasting on the beach with all those great sights.