The Null Device

Rio 2006

Rio de Janeiro has won the 2016 Olympics. Our condolences to the Brazilian people; to the poor people who will undoubtedly be forcibly removed to make room, and everybody else who will have to endure the inevitable Olympic-related expenses and suspensions of civil liberties where such impinge on sponsors' profits.

Chicago was the favourite for the Olympics, but was eliminated first, getting only 18 of the 94 votes. Sime are speculating that this was partly due to heavy-handed passport control procedures brought in during the Bush administration:

Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”
International travel to the U.S. declined by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. To lure visitors back, U.S. Travel has been pushing the Travel Promotion Act, which recently was passed in the Senate and is awaiting action in the House, to create a campaign to strengthen the image of the United States abroad.
There are more horror stories about US Immigration here, with some commenters comparing their experience unfavourably to the former East Germany, and others speaking of great lengths taken to avoid the US when travelling. I must say that this has not been my experience. On both occasions when I visited the US, the entry process was quick (quicker than returning to Britain at Heathrow, on some occasions), and the staff were polite. Then again, on both occasions I had arrived at San Francisco; your mileage may vary.

There are 3 comments on "Rio 2006":

Posted by: Michael S. Sat Oct 3 12:45:42 2009

Ha, I wonder how long it'll be possible to blame things on George Bush. "Sit down and write two letters, etc."

Posted by: acb Sat Oct 3 15:46:49 2009

I'm not saying that Bush himself dictated that foreigners be intimidated and treated as arrestees at immigration points, but there is clearly a connection between this and the chauvinistic culture of the Bush administration and the Project for a New American Century and its ilk, as well as the much-vaunted "warrior culture" of the US South which was exalted under Bush.

Though the Khrushchev anecdote is a cute one, granted.

Posted by: Greg Sat Oct 3 22:41:34 2009

I doubt the choice of Rio was made for this reason. This is a major decision for the IOC, with a lot riding on it. Would they use it to protest US airport security-theatre? Do they care about the inconvenience of their paying customers? Would airport inconvenience affect the choice of the world's citizens whether to attend? All these seem unlikely. I read that Brazil was chosen in order to balance host cities between continents/hemispheres. I recall some past hosting decisions were made for this reason too. Btw something I haven't read yet is whether the choice of Rio is considered a slap in the face to Obama, who spruiked for Chicago.

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