2016: Rio Says: “Live Your Passion”

An old fable from Aesop goes like this:

The Fox and the Grapes
A famished fox crept into a vineyard where ripe, luscious grapes were draped high upon arbors in a most tempting display. In his effort to win a juicy prize, the fox jumped and sprang many times but failed in all his attempts. When he finally had to admit defeat, he retreated and muttered to himself, “Well, what does it matter anyway? The grapes are sour!”
It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

Congratulations people of Rio de Janeiro on your securing of the 2016 Summer Olympics in your hometown, the capital city of the beautiful and bountiful (and Olympic debt bound?) Brazil. I had a case of “sour grapes” when I first found out that you beat us, Chicago, for the responsibility of hosting the XXXI Olympiad. I truly thought we were ready to show our stuff on a global level. But we inherently want whatever we can’t or shouldn’t have. We can’t have the Olympics here. Fine. The summer games have been held here in the USA more than any other country over the last few decades. The 1996 games in Atlanta, Georgia became better known for a breach in security than it did for a memorable Olympics. Twelve years earlier, the games were held on the West Coast in Los Angeles, California. Not to mention we had a Winter Games thrown in the mix in Salt Lake City, UT back in 2002. So I’m all for seeing another country get a chance to show the world what it has to offer! It just becomes so much more real when the city bidding for the Olympics is your hometown.

Don’t tell any of this to Mayor Daley. He wanted these games so badly. Who could blame him? I want to show off my city to the world too, show off how much money I can get the taxpayers to dump into such a magnificent celebration of sport among nations. But did we convince the IOC that we were ready to do so? Nope. Not close. We didn’t even make it to the second round of voting. Apparently, no matter how badly you want something **cough**cough**Mayor Daley**cough**, Chicago is not ready to pull off a successful Olympics. And when we say successful, we take everything into consideration regarding the Games: costs, available venues, required construction, managing the aftermath, housing, travel (can you imagine the Red Line all packed with international athletes all summer?), you get the idea.

As a sports fan and as a fan of global unification, I as a Chicagoan would have loved to see the world’s greatest athletes showing their skills at Washington Park, the United Center, and Soldier Field. Imagine the Kenyans schooling us on the Marathon along Lake Shore Drive. Imagine an aging Michael Phelps taking up marathon swimming in the murky abyss that is Lake Michigan.

No. On second thought, don’t imagine those things. That only makes the grapes more sour. Let’s take this time to envision a better version of the Olympics in a gorgeous South American capital. Instead of dirty ass Lake Michigan, Rio‘s got the warm waters of the South Atlantic Ocean and the Baia de Guanabara. It just sounds better. Imagine the breathtaking opening and closing ceremonies–Brazilian style! Imagine the rich culture of Rio de Janeiro marinating your soul.

As taxpayers, Chicagoans don’t want to foot the bill when all is said and done anyway. So thanks Rio de Janeiro for stepping up and presenting a better plan to the IOC. Thanks for giving the world an opportunity to see your beautiful city on an enormous scale. Thanks for popping the South American Olympic cherry. Did you know the Olympics have never been to South America? Yep, 2016 will mark the first time in Olympic history the games are played on Brazilian, South American soil! Pretty exciting, I know…

While we wait for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics to captivate our imaginations and realities, let’s take the time to congratulate a very deserving recipient while recognizing that our time here in Chicago is yet to come. In the meantime, let’s Live Our Passion!