The Chicago Olympics – why I hope we’re out

Voting is taking place as I write this, so by the time you read this my points may be moot, but let me just say this: I hope Chicago doesn’t get the 2016 Olympics.

You may call me unpatriotic, but hear me out: I enjoy watching the Olympic games. My wife and I rallied around the TV every night last year to cheer on athletes in these sports that we normally don’t care about.  It was a fantastic experience, and made me appreciate the Olympics at its best.

Now fast-forward to today, in Athens, which hosted the 2004 Olympics.  After all of the romanticism of hosting the Olympics in Greece, all of the effort Greece went into putting their best foot forward – now five years later are left with decaying buildings that nobody uses and covered with hoodlum graffiti.

The Olympics at their best represent world unity through friendly competition, but you also have to accept the Games at their worst – an extravagant attempt to make a buck.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch capitalist, but as a capitalist I must weigh in the production costs with the outcome revenue – and from my perspective shows me that things don’t add up.

Did you see how over-the-top the opening ceremony was last year?  It left me wondering if it would ever be topped. The problem is that future hosts of the Olympics will try to top that, spending countless billions of dollars to build newer facilities and real-time movie effects.  It’s like the Super Bowl: In the end all of the activities and preparations leading up to the event simply just overshadow the actual events.

I don’t mean to get political, but the way President Obama is lobbying for this is equally over the top.  On the wake of Iran admitting they have secret nuclear activities that have been exposed, followed by testing of their missiles, what does the president do? Hop on a plane – not to address this matter with other world leaders – but to lobby the IOC in Denmark for the Olympics in his hometown.  Really? Is this the most pressing thing that we need?  Just so we can build a bunch of facilities and infrastructure whose post-Olympics usage can’t justify their cost.

We’ll see how this pans out, but I won’t be disappointed if Rio de Janeiro gets South America’s first Olympic games.