Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Rio's Olympic Win Is Chicago's Loss

During the weeks before the Oct. 2 International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote to select the host of the 2016 Summer Games, global speculation centered on Barack Obama's plans. Would he show up in Copenhagen to pitch voters on Chicago, his adopted hometown and a front runner for the bid? After saying the heated health care debate on Capitol Hill would keep him grounded in the States, Obama changed his mind and joined a cadre of celebrities, including his wife and Oprah Winfrey, who were lobbying members on the merits of Chicago. As it turned out, he wasted the flight; Chicago not only didn't win the games but was shockingly bounced in the first round of voting. The final decision came down to Rio de Janeiro and Madrid. After IOC President Jacques Rogge announced Rio as the winner, thousands of Brazilians went berserk on the city's sparkling beaches, letting the world know it was in for one hell of a party. But now that the celebration over the first Olympics to come to South America has died down, Brazil will have to prove the skeptics wrong by showing that Rio can make a significant cut in its crime and poverty rates in time for the Games.