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There was commotion, excitement and anticipation, but in the end, there was just disappointment as Chicago was not given the bid for the 2016 Olympics. Instead, Rio de Janeiro will become the first South American country to host the games. Now, America will have to wait at least another four years before they get the chance to host again.
The last time the Summer games were held in the United States was way back in 1996. There, Atlanta, Georgia surprised the world when it beat out Athens (Greece), Toronto (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Manchester (Great Britain) and Belgrade (Yugoslavia). Two countries, Australia and Greece, have already hosted the games and England will get the games in 2012. Canada will even see the Winter Games in 2010, so there is still hope for the United States in the future. Atlanta did have problems though with the bombing, which could have swayed voters away with safety concerns.
Despite appearances from President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and even Oprah, the city couldn’t pull in the games. In a Cubs-like performance, they were one of the contenders and a favorite to win it all, before being eliminated in the first round (Sorry Cubs fans). Chicago couldn’t compete with Madrid (Spain), Tokyo (Japan) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the eventual winner. Chicago seemed to do everything possible, but couldn’t pull it out.
Despite great architecture, first-class cuisine and being one great sports city, it didn’t seem to compare with its international counterparts. So much time and money were spent to draw attention, but everything failed. The only thing else that could have been done was for Chicago’s greatest athlete to travel to Denmark, where the voting was taking place. Instead, Michael Jordan decided to stay home, which was unwise according to Soccer star Pele.
“It is important to participate when your country needs you.” said Pele. “If I have to die for my country, I would die for my country. If I had to die for my sport, I would die for my sport. I feel very happy if I can help my country.”
It’s hard to argue that Rio didn’t deserve the games over Chicago. On three separate occasions, the city tried to win the games, losing out for the games in 1936, 2004 and 2012. In fact, there has only been two previous games which have been hosted in the southern hemisphere, both in Australia. The IOC, International Olympic Committee, always emphasized spreading the games around. Rio will be the seventh country outside of North America and Europe to host the games. For reference, North America and Europe have hosted the games 21 out of 28 times and the United States has hosted the most games with four, St. Louis in 1904, Los Angeles 1932 and 1984, and Atlanta in 1996.
For Chicago, many people crowded to watch the votes and when the city was eliminated, there seemed to be faces saying, “Well, what are you going to do?” There was not much shock, or real disappointment. On the other hemisphere, 50,000 filled Copacabana Beach and were crying and rejoicing that their city would be the center of the world during the summer of 2016. Pele couldn’t hold back his tears knowing that Brazil did what no other South American country could do, win the games. There was no sense that this was the end of the world with Chicago, where this was everything for the people of Rio.
It doesn’t appear that America truly cares about hosting the games, only winning at the Olympics. Despite winning the most medals, the USA was second to China in Golds. For Brazil, the medals are not as important as hosting. The idea that Rio will be hosting the greatest athletes in the World means more then anything. For viewers, a real glimpse will be in 2014 when Brazil hosts the other world celebration, the World Cup. Two enormous events in the span of two years will be more the Rio could ever ask for.
With Chicago still stunned from its defeat, the United States will look onwards to host once again. Three cities are hoping they can get the support from USOC to put in a bid for the 2020 games. Minneapolis/St. Paul are praying the twin cities can bring the games in the midwest. Mayor Larry Langford is getting the ball moving in an attempt for the games to come to Birmingham, Alabama, with the slogan, “Olympics 2020: Why not Birmingham?” Finally, one city that is doing preliminary research to decide wether or not it’s city could host the games is Boston, Massachusetts.
That’s right New Englanders, Boston is looking into seeing if it can get support from citizens and if the city has what it takes to host the games. Should the city decide to go through with the bidding process, it will be the likely front runner for a USOC vote. However, two things get in the way. Tokyo is expecting another run at the game since not hosting since 1964, but with Beijing hosting last year, it is unlikely another Asian country will host for sometime. Many members of the IOC have stated that an African country should get the games, thus having all inhabited continents having hosted the games. Even though Morocco is looking into the games, the front runner for the 2020 games will be Cape Town, South Africa. Next year’s World Cup will be a deciding factor in South Africa’s chances. Paris, Madrid, and possibly Chicago and New York will also hurt Boston’s chance.
So that means the United States might have to look even further down the road. Unless Toronto pulls out a miracle in 2020 (the city did host in 1976), the next possible time North America might host will be in 2028. Seattle, Washington is looking way down the road and possibly joining forces with Vancouver, Canada to co-host the games. The problem: Vancouver is already the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. No city has hosted both games and due to the timeframe being so close, it is a long shot at best.
The Summer games are one of the greatest sports experiences in the world. The greatest athletes from all corners of the globe descend on the host. In 2012, London will have the opportunity to shine and bring the games back to Europe (the last time was 2004’s Athens games). For Rio, 2016 is a rebirth for the games. South America now has hope that future games could come to countries like Argentina and Chile, which have previously not had strong hopes of hosting. Should Africa get the opportunity in 2020, then the Olympics would really become the world’s games.
With the United States, we might finally have to wait our turn. No other country has hosted as much as the States. Mexico and Canada both would like to host the next time they come to North America. If America truly wants to host again, it should look to a new idea. Boston and New York could work to co-host by celebrating the history Boston brings with the modern style New York possesses. If our cities keep competing with each other, instead of working together, it could be a long time before the games return to American soil.