Week of September 28, 2009
One way or another, the logo you see above will be history as of Friday. It will be either replaced by a real Olympics Logo or simply be dispatched to the dustbin of history along with my 1984 and 2008 Cub’s World Series tickets. The news this morning is that President Obama will join his wife Michelle, Mayor Richard Daley, Oprah Winfrey, and many other prominent Chicago athletes, politicians, business and civic leaders in Copenhagen to twist the arms of IOC members who will decide Friday morning (Chicago time) who will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The other contenders are Madrid, Tokyo, and Rio, with Rio and Chicago considered the leading contenders. All things being equal, Rio should be the choice. No South American city has ever hosted the Olympics and Rio is a beautiful city with Sugarloaf Mountain, gorgeous beaches and all the beautiful things to be seen on those beaches. Rio’s distinction for being the birthplace of the thong is enough reason alone to win them the Olympics.
But all things are not equal. With all of its beauty, Rio is one of the most violent cities in the world. The city has several overcrowded, desperately poor shantytowns that breed gangs whose violence spreads even into Rio’s more affluent areas. You know, like Chicago in the twenties. But Brazil has a charasmatic leader, Luiz “Lula” da Silva, who will also be in Copenhagen making Rio’s case. The leaders of Japan and Spain will also be there, so the Chicago 2016 Commitee considered it essential for the President to be there. The vote is expected to be so close that every vote will count. Since Chicago is involved, don’t be surprised if some dead IOC members cast votes on Friday.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva gives President Obama a Brazilian soccer jersey, who being a good American is understandably unimpressed
If Chicago loses, I think the city will be just fine. If we win, get ready for seven years of hype, contruction, and the inevitable fraud and finagling that only Chicago and its politicians can generate. It would be interesting to watch. As a native Southsider I’m particularly excited about the fact that most of the Olympics, including the Olympic Stadium, would be in Washington Park on the south side of Chicago. Washington Park is, interestingly enough, within a short walk of the President’s Chicago home. So by noon on Friday there will either be a lot of sad faces in the Windy City or a real estate boom on the Southside. Whatever happens on Friday, we will be here just like always, however you might look for our “Special Olympic Discount” for Gold Medal winners; or maybe “Free Olympic T-Shirt” when you graduate from our course. But look, if Chicago wins the games we are traders and Chicagoans with seven years to figure out how to cash in. If Rio wins, we might just sulk a little and then fly down there for the games. Did I mention its where the thong was invented?