Monday, July 8, 2019

Chicago out-conned by Rio de Janeiro?

For all the rhetoric we hear about how venal and corrupt the inherent character of Chicago truly is, I couldn’t help but wonder if the real problem is that our city is run by a batch of goo-goos.
The 'games' that never were

It was the thought that popped into my head when I read reports about the bribery and corruption that is being alleged, tied to the decision more than a decade ago to stage the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janiero.

THE OFFICIAL RHETORIC was that the International Olympic Committee decided it was FINALLY time to stage an Olympics in a city south of the equator.

But now, we have a former governor of Rio saying he paid the U.S. equivalent of over $2 million to committee members in order to ensure they voted for Rio over any of the other cities around the world that were competing for those games.

In short, bribes were paid. The process was rigged.

Now how truthful should we think all of this is? Well there’s the fact that former Governor Sergio Cabral already is convicted of criminal acts and is serving a lengthy prison term – at 200 years, it is one he may never be free from.

SO WHAT REASON would Cabral have to lie? It seems he has nothing to gain, or lose, by coming forth now with the testimony he offered in court last week. Or it could be the ultimate reason – political revenge.

There are other officials who will have trials coming up soon – and this could be a desire on his part to take down those officials to make them suffer the same fate that he is now enduring.
Daley's soul supposedly too black, but … 

Attorneys for those officials, by the way, claim it’s all trash-talk on Cabral’s part. He’s got no proof! Or so they say.

Now how is any of this the least bit relevant – or interesting – to those of us in Chicago? It’s because those 2016 Olympic Games were the ones that then-Mayor Richard M. Daley was determined to bring to the Second City. Remember the plans for a stadium to be temporarily erected in Washington Park?

REMEMBER THE GLOBAL battles between Tokyo, Madrid, Rio and Chicago? Remember the sentiment that this was a fight for Chicago to win so as to show our global dominance?
… was Hizzoner really too honest to prevail?

Remember the thousands of people gathered in Daley Plaza on that date in 2009 when the Olympic site was chosen – with fanatics chanting “We’re Number Four” (Chicago’s place on the four-city ballot) only to be suddenly silenced when it was learned that Chicago’s bid was the first to be knocked out of the running.

We really were number four – in terms of actually getting those games. The visions of Barack Obama presiding over an Olympics held in his home city turned out to be fantasy.

Mayor Daley was so disgusted by the city’s failure to win the Olympic games that the city has pretty much given up on attracting the International sports scene. It’s a large part of the reason why the 2026 World Cup tourney for soccer will be played partially in the United States – yet none of the matches will be held in Chicago.

EVEN RAHM EMANUEL had enough of the bad aftertaste to not want to bother with the international sports scene.

But now, we hear the whole thing may well have been rigged. We may well have lost that political fight to Rio de Janeiro because we weren’t corrupt enough. As in maybe we would have attracted the Olympic games and all the international attention that Daley wanted to bring to Chicago if only we were as corrupt as some of the political ideologues would want to insist we are.
The 'facility' that never became!
Not that I’m claiming we in Chicago should have loosened up our wallets and come up with more cash than the International Olympic Committee demanded from the Brazilians.

But it makes me wonder how much those ideologues are choking on their rhetoric at the notion that Chicago was out-corrupted by somebody else. And that it may well have been a Daley who got out-hard-balled politically for being too honest.


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