What a strange series of events this week. The Olympics are practically meaningless to me thanks to the constant doping and hyper-commercialization but I can see why many find it interesting. When Paris “lost” I was thrilled because the last thing the city needed was more tourists. During the 1998 World Cup, thieves from all over were in town and everything was too crowded. Even still, it was incredible to watch the right wingers take so much glee in pounding Obama before and then celebrate after the decision to award Rio de Janeiro. It will always be about the extreme hatred for them.
All of that said, it really was a happy day for Brazil to win this event. It’s hard to imagine that this is the first time the Olympics have been awarded to a Latin American country. Give credit to Lulu for winning over the IOC and advancing Brazil to this stage. It’s been a few years since I was last in Brazil and I hope that the personal safety problems have been resolved but it’s not as though the US is any prize in that category. Tokyo obviously would have been the winner if safety was the issue.
From the US perspective, you have to wonder about the US Olympic committee. Delivering the fourth out of four should raise questions and you wonder how much worse it would have been without Obama visiting. The Hail Mary rarely works. Another serious question that this raises is how the US treats foreigners.
Between the absurd tax that Congress is slapping on to foreign visitors and the generally horrible interrogations when arriving, maybe people don’t realize what an unattractive destination the US has become. I’ve watched it myself and have been floored with how nasty and aggressive US immigration can be compared to other countries. I’ve entered around 50 countries across six continents and can say the US is near the bottom. Nobody is asking for the US to drop safety procedures, but really, entering the US is a miserable experience for many. That needs to change.
In the end, winning the Olympics may not be the end all, be all that Brazil thinks but if that’s what they want, more power to them. It’s nice to see a change and why not let Lula celebrate with his country? Good luck to them and hopefully the new location will give the Olympics a new boost. For now, hats off to Brazil for delivering a great pitch and energizing their country. Well done.