Friday, October 2, 2009

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro

For about the past month there's been lots of anticipation of today's decision of the host for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The candidates:
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Tokyo
  • Madrid
  • Chicago
Almost all of the analysts predicted that either Rio or Chicago would win, and President Obama made a last minute decision to travel to Copenhagen in order to campaign for Chicago. In an interesting discussion on Hang Up and Listen this week, the hosts explained that Chicago had come up with a new idea for temporary Olympic venues, which would address the problem -- experienced by recent host cities -- of venues sitting unused after their two weeks of glory.

Then, the big surprise of today: Chicago was the first of the four cities to be eliminated in the IOC's voting. Rio beat out Madrid in the end. The footage of the Rio delegation celebrating was fun -- they were clearly very excited.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, whose name I had not heard for many years, issued a hospital-bed appeal for IOC members to vote for Madrid. This was an interesting detail, as Samaranch was always portrayed as the ultimate sports-organization politician -- I guess the wisdom was that he represented either the best or the worst of the Olympic movement, depending on one's perspective.

312. Will Pittsburgh really submit a bid to host the Olympics in 2020? The Chicago Tribune is reporting tonight that Chicago will probably not be a candidate in 2020.

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