“We don’t want your stinkin’ Olympics!” That seemed to be a theme in the United States in the run up to our recent bid in Copenhagen this Fall.
We have some of the most talented and gifted athletes in the world, and they had the opportunity to represent our nation at a home game. Previously lost was New York City’s bid for the 2012 games – in case anyone forgot. While then President Bush did not appear in person for the bid, he did rally on its behalf via video where “In a short speech on the video, Bush promised his and the government’s “total” commitment, particularly on the issue of security and visas. ‘The United States government is ready to do whatever it takes to work with you to make sure everyone has a great experience in New York,’ Bush said.'” So … he didn’t fly there, but he did express his support.
But really, who flies where is neither here nor there – and frankly kinda dumb to focus on – in my opinion. What counts to me is why we didn’t win, and why the United States was eliminated in the FIRST ROUND. Well, the evaluation of the IOC (I linked to the html format) is available online, and I had a gander.
Each location had its own set of challenges – chiefly financial. But, that’s not why we lost.
Each location had its own agenda – I thought the United States’ chief reason to bid might be mostly patriotic ’cause what United States sports team doesn’t want a home game? That, it turns out, was an incorrect assumption.
Wanna know why we didn’t get it? Three reasons: money, popularity, and the environment.
United States, Chicago: The budget is ambitious but achievable.
Tokyo, Japan: The OCOG budget seems reasonable and achievable.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The OCOG budget seems reasonable and achievable.
Madrid, Spain: Overall, the OCOG budget seems reasonable and achievable.
Environment: STRIKE 2
United States, Chicago: The USA has not signed the Kyoto Protocol, but Chicago has officially adopted Protocol goals and is committed to cutting carbon emissions by 25% (below 1990 levels) by 2020.
Tokyo, Japan: Japan has signed the Kyoto Protocol.
Rio de Janeiro: Brazil has signed the Kyoto Protocol.
Madrid, Spain: Spain has signed the Kyoto Protocol.
The larger question on the Kyoto Protocol is why it has yet to be signed now that President Bush is out of office and President Obama is in? This should be revisited soon … and quickly.
Finally, and the real reason we lost the bid for the 2016 Olympics (in my opinion) … the United States said ‘Stick it! We don’t want your stinkin’ Olympics!’
The United States simply didn’t care for these Olympic games and it’s traffic bringers. We love our cars, we hate teh traffic, and it simply doesn’t matter to us if it brings revenue in the long run, or improvements to the city in which it’s held … ‘Y’all can keep ’em,’ says United States and Tokyo.
The IOC reported: “As is the case with each edition of the Olympic Games, letters of concern were addressed to the Commission. The Commission received requests to meet with representatives of certain groups during its visits to Chicago and Tokyo, to which it agreed. The concerns related to specific sites or were mainly of an environmental, financial and social nature.”
Popularity STRIKE 3 you’re out:
United States, Chicago: 67% support in Chicago and 61% nationally.
Tokyo, Japan: 56% support in Tokyo and 55% nationally.
Rio de Janeiro: 85% support in Rio de Janeiro and 69% nationally.
Madrid, Spain: 85% support in Madrid and 86% nationally.
So, if we eliminate logically – United States didn’t really want it, couldn’t afford it, and it hasn’t signed the Kyoto Protocol. So, it was an easy decision as far as I can tell … and it’s one that has little to do with the President.
The fact is, President Obama didn’t fail … we did. And, looking at the popularity of the proposal it seems we didn’t really care, either.