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Obama’s Loss is America’s Gain

October 3, 2009


Despite the best efforts of President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey to bolster Chicago’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the “honor” to the City of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The White House lobbied hard and had made the argument that hosting the Olympics in Chicago would showcase the United States and provide a “tangible economic benefit” to that city.

On hearing about the IOC’s rejection, the President and his team were visibly devastated. White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that the president received the bad news aboard Air Force One while watching TV, alone in his quarters on the presidential jet as he and his wife, Michelle, flew back to Washington from Copenhagen.

In these trying economic times, it seems the First Family was lamenting the fact that all of the revenue generated from hosting the Olympics would now find its way to Rio.

Of course, if history is any guide, instead of sadness, the President should have been elated, for according to sportswriter Dave Zirin, Amy Goodman’s guest on Democracy Now! last evening, the Olympics have never been anything but a financial drain on the host country.

Consider the following:

DAVE ZIRIN: Well, I don’t know about you, but I never take my kids out and say, “Hey, let’s go out and do a fun luge, or what do you say we go out and do some synchronized swimming?” And that’s part of the problem, is that these facilities get built that have no real use after the cameras have gone and people have gone home. And what places are left with is debt.

I mean, let’s—we could go down the list, chapter and verse, on this. But China, for example, they spent as high, according to the LA Times, as $42 billion to get their Olympics there. My favorite example—not favorite—but Athens, Greece, they went 1,000 percent over budget in Athens. That defies my knowledge of math that they went a thousand percent over budget. The city of Montreal, 1976 Olympics, they finished paying off their debt in 2006. It took thirty years to do it.

The 2012 games, which will be held in London, were originally projected by that city to cost less than $5 billion, but in actuality the figure may now end up costing London much, much, more—the price tag is now approaching $19 billion!

Chicago’s proposed budget for the Olympics was $4 billion, and it was projected that revenue from hosting the event would earn the State of Illinois $22 billion; $13 billion of which would go to the city of Chicago. The Wall Street Journal, however, cites an independent analysis which found that $4.4 billion dollars in generated revenue would be a much more realistic figure. At a cost of $4 billion (and this assumes that the cost estimates are correct), hosting the Olympics hardly seems worth it.

So cheer up, Mr. President—even though the Olympics will not be held in Chicago, there is still plenty to celebrate. After all, the United States just dodged a financial bullet.

  1. October 3, 2009 4:40 am

    The author assumes the president is adverse to debt and unfunded obligations.

    • john permalink
      October 4, 2009 11:35 am

      lol, you are so right.

  2. jbtrevor permalink
    October 3, 2009 4:59 am

    Walter, good one!

    There had to be more of a reason why the POTUS, his wife, and the Band of Chicagoans went to prostitute themselves…I’ve heard rumblings about money lining pockets.

    Is anyone onto something I don’t know about?

    • Fritz Becker permalink
      October 6, 2009 7:05 pm

      That is actually one of the main reasons for the cost overruns and 30 year legacy of debt from the 1976 Montreal Olympics, contractors lining their pockets by padding expenses. I can give one example, the main contract for all the concrete supplied to the big “O” was awarded to Lefarge. For those of you who don’t know concrete is sold by volume, by the cubic yard. The going rate for concrete, at the time the big “O” was being constructed, was approximately $25 per yard, the price charged to the City of Montreal by Lefarge was in the neighborhood of $120 per yard.
      One thing to keep in mind is that the City of Montreal was nowhere near as corrupt as the City of Chicago is, one can only imagine how high the bill would have been in a place like “Crook County” with everyone’s hand in the cookie jar. I read the proposal put forth by the Chicago Olympic committee, it actually sounded fairly logical, but only if you didn’t know anything about Chicago crime syndicate politics. I’m guessing that the International Olympic Committee must have brushed up on local politics before they decided to dump Chicago in the first round, after Salt Lake City I’m sure that the I.O.C has already had their fill of graft.

  3. David Forsmark permalink
    October 3, 2009 6:23 am

    Here’s another reason not to host the Olympics I bet you never thought of…

  4. Elaine permalink
    October 3, 2009 6:45 am

    Aw shucks. Guess the supernatural powers of the One were on vacation while O and M spent taxpayer’s money to try to bribe the IOC members into giving the windy city of mobsters a chance to expose their wares to the world.

  5. Claude Cartaginese permalink
    October 3, 2009 6:57 am

    Thanks David-
    Don’t know how I could have missed that one!


  6. Dishmom permalink
    October 3, 2009 8:29 am

    The Truth is, you can’t build in Chicago, when you “restrain” building in Israel.

  7. Garth Staples permalink
    October 4, 2009 3:56 am

    I thought the action of the President re Games at Copenhagen were beneath
    the role of a head of state.

    • jbtrevor permalink
      October 4, 2009 5:58 am

      Garth, that’s why I called it “prostituting”

  8. jac mills permalink
    October 4, 2009 4:09 am

    I would imagine the most disappointed Chicagoans in the Olympics decision were Blago and Burris, who probably would have run and been re-elected.

  9. Jeffrey H. McCully permalink
    October 4, 2009 8:41 am

    Obama. The world adores him, the world ignores him.

  10. MaryAnn permalink
    October 4, 2009 9:56 am

    The White House lobbied hard and made the argument that Chicago hosting the Olympics would showcase Obama, not the United States.

  11. Judy permalink
    October 4, 2009 10:24 am

    The emperor has NO clothes. I am sure that the corruption of the IOC was even greater than the Obama’s could have even imagined. Undoubtedly they were shocked that they met even greater con artists than themselves and their friends.

  12. abe permalink
    October 4, 2009 12:37 pm

    BooHoo!!!! Chicago didn’t get the Olympics, even though the politician-in-chief flew all the way to Copenhagen to arm-twist the IOC. I say GREAT NEWS!!! Now slum-lord, taxpaying money vaccum machine Valerie Jerret won’t convert taxpayer financed “affordable housing” which is 99% vacant into the Olympic Village and make millions off the sucker taxpayers.

  13. John H permalink
    October 4, 2009 6:14 pm

    Would obama, michele and opera have flown to coppenhagen if the U.S olympic site had been for,,,,lets say Houston Texas. Or…………….??

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