Saturday, October 3, 2009

Olympic Musings

Some are criticizing President Obama for his performance regarding the IOC and Chicago’s bid to host the next summer games. As far as I can tell, this was a no-win situation for him, particularly in light of the eagerness with which some will criticize him for anything and/or rejoice to see him fail.

What were the possibilities?

1. The President does not go to stump for the U.S., and is roundly criticized for not doing so.

2. The President goes and seems less than committed, and is roundly criticized for not giving it his all.

3. The President does go, gives it his all and either

a. we get the games, and critics say this was Chicago cronyism and will cost us millions


b. we do not get the games, and critics mock the President for his effort and blame him for failing.

Tough choice.

What surprises me is that anyone expected the U.S. to get the games. No South American country has ever hosted. The U.S. hosted in 2002 and put on a nationalistic performance at the opening ceremonies to which the IOC objected. The U.S. is in economic trouble, and many around the world blame the difficulties of the global economy on the U.S. Chicago’s reputation for transparent and above-board governance is … not the best. The USOC is at odds with the IOC.

I think the President made the right choice. I’m not surprised Chicago lost out. I’m glad for Brazil that it got the games and hope it can carry them off without significant loss of money.
UPDATE: I had forgotten about the scandal[s] surrounding the Salt Lake Olympics. Another count against us.


  1. "1. The President does not go to stump for the U.S., and is roundly criticized for not doing so."

    Was President Bush roundly criticized for not going to the IOC to stump for NYC? The president hasn't historically stumped for Olympic bids, so why do so now?

    A few words of support in a press briefing would have been sufficient. There's no Sophie's choice here, the President made a "historic effort" and tried to sell his personality, but found no buyers.

  2. Obama was getting some criticism for his initial choice to not go to Copenhagen. Partly, this was due to recent evidence that personal pleas from leaders have helped countries get the Games. Partly, it might have been that , as a Chicagoan, he was expected to display greater investment.