That's right, let me be the first to congratulate Chicago on NOT winning the 2016 Olympic Bid, it may be the best thing to happen to the City. Now I know most people would think it should be a time of sadness for the city, after all, aren't the Olympics a way to showcase a city on how wonderful it is and all that great stuff. Right and it's all about the motto: "Citius, Altius, Fortius".
We all know what that's supposed to mean, in fact here is the meaning listed on the Olympic website:
These three words encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition, and to view this effort as a victory in itself.
The sense of the motto is that being first is not necessarily a priority, but that giving one's best and striving for personal excellence is a worthwhile goal. It can apply equally to athletes and to each one of us.
Great words, wonderful ideals. Now let's put it away and understand what the modern Olympic movement is all about: it's about a bloated and corrupt bureaucracy that is answerable to no one and it's the ultimate old boys and girls club. It's about xenophobia, jingoism and all the excesses of 'isms' we thought we could finally escape. It's about people winning medals one year and having them stripped away the next when it is learned they cheated. The only good out of this is for those athletes at the bottom of the list, just finish guys and gals and you may eventually, when all the elites are exposed as frauds, you might win a bronze. Mind you, there will be no official flag ceremony and most people will have forgotten all that, but at least you will have a medal.
So the winner is Rio De Janerio, a fabulous city in the Republic of Brazil. It is the second largest city in Brazil and one of the largest in all of South America. It is known for it's beautiful beaches, people, music and Carnaval. It is also known for its crime,
Rio has high crime rates, especially homicide, in poor areas dominated by drug lords, primarily in the North Zone. As of 2007, the homicide rate of the greater metropolitan area stood at nearly 30 victims per week, with the majority of victims falling to mugging, stray bullets or narcoterrorism. In 2006, 2,273 people were murdered in the city giving it a murder rate of 37.7 cases for every 100,000 people.
According to federal government research, the city itself ranks 206th (out of a total of 5,565) in the list of the most violent cities and municipalities in Brazil and first in total number of firearm-related deaths. Between 1978 and 2000, 49,900 people were killed in Rio. The Urban Warfare involves drug-traffic battle with police fighting against outlaws, or even corrupt policemen on their side.
Rio de Janeiro's low paid and ill-equipped police are violent as well, it has been said. In 2007, the police allegedly killed 1,330 people in the state, an increase of 25 percent over 2006 when 1,063 people were killed, in 2003 that number plateaued at 1,195. In comparison the American police killed only 347 people in whole of the United States during 2006. The average Rio policeman earns only R$874 a month or R$10,488 (around US$6,000) a year.
Into this safe environment, thousands of people will descend in about 7 years to enjoy the various sports such as ducking bullets, handling wounds and calling the equivalent of 911. I suspect the IOC only saw the beaches and the beautiful people and thought this would be a great place for an Olympics.
No doubt the supporters of Rio will say the money used to build the infrastructure will also be used to build up the neighbourhoods and to make them safe. Also, they can meditate on the fact that the government will have to begin to pay the police a more humane and human wage so they won't be in the pockets of the local drug lords.
There will be the usual talk about this being a 'green' game- green as in moola, although people will speak of the environmental sensitivity of the Games.
Chicago, what did you lose? You lost the right to spend money that could have gone to infrastructure, public transit, parks, schools and libraries, and wasted it on facilities that would have been of no use. You can build community centres that will help the community, rather then a few.
You lost the right to squander the future of your young people on stuff that will be alledged for the 'youth of tomorrow'. You lost the right to have all those self-important members of the IOC strutting their stuff like they 'own' the place. You lost the right to put needed social services on the backburner and cause all sort of suffering for the people who are the most vulnerable.
Yeah Chicago, you lost a lot. Now go have a party.