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Obama’s Lobby for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

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First Lady Michelle Obama is on a mission to win the bid for Chicago to be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. At a round table discussion with reporters in the White House State Dining Room this past Monday, Mrs. Obama, smiling, had this to say, "It's a battle –– we're going to win –– take no prisoners!"

Mrs. Obama arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, this morning and President Obama is scheduled to leave on Thursday to join his wife and they will be making their presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday, October 2.

According to news reports, a "Chicago entourage" will be joining President Obama and the first lady in Copenhagen, including a few from Obama’s administration; Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Hollywood powerhouse, Oprah Winfrey; and Chicago is bringing 14 Olympic and two Paralympic gold medalists, including Michael Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Nadia Comaneci and Nastia Liukin.

Obama will be the first U.S. president to appeal in person to the IOC for an Olympic event and many are praising his decision to make this special appearance, while some Republicans consider Obama’s trip “misplaced priorities”. The Associated Press noted that RNC Chairman Michael Steele called the visit “noble”, however, Steele asked, "Where is the focus?" and added, “At a time of war, at a time of recession … I think this trip is nice but not necessary for the president. The goal should be creating job opportunities not seven years from now, but job opportunities today."

Politico.com weighed in on the Obama trip this past Monday, “White House officials didn't want Obama to be rebuffed and initially hinted the president himself wouldn't make the trip. Now top aides say they want to pull out all the stops, and they hope a personal pitch by Obama, who is highly popular around the world, will give Chicago's bid a major boost”.

The four finalists for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo and other than the U.S. President, heads of state representing Rio and Madrid will be attending as well. The IOC will be announcing the winner on Friday…will the Obama’s and their "Chicago entourage" bring home the GOLD?

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About Christine Lakatos

  • Christine,

    I would like to comment on Mr. Steele’s statement regarding employment generated by a won bid for the 2016 summer Olympics.

    (RNC Chairman Michael Steele called the visit “noble”, however, Steele asked, “Where is the focus?” and added, “At a time of war, at a time of recession … I think this trip is nice but not necessary for the president. The goal should be creating job opportunities not seven years from now, but job opportunities today.”)

    I live in the great lakes district and just the preparation and building for a Chicago 2016 Olympics would generate billions in revenue for this area of the country.
    Can you see the influx of workers and supportive services for the project? The increase in tourism from people at home and all over the world?

    It takes years of planning and construction of venues and accommodations for an event like this.

    I for one, hope that people will also visit surrounding attractions. NYC and Niagara Falls come to mind…:)

  • Seems a little disingenuous that the White House is making the Olympic bid, but that’s politics. Who will profit? Not the people looking for work in Chicago, but for the cronies of the Chicago mob.

    By the way, I live in the Rust Belt too, but I don’t foresee any spillover from the Olympics being held in Chicago. I don’t see anyone taking what constitutes an all day car trip to go to Niagara Falls or a longer one to NYC. Of course, there’ll be no layovers in Detroit.

    The consensus is that Olympics cost money. TAXPAYER money. Calgary is still paying, as is just about every other venue in recent history. We can’t afford it.

  • Hey Jeannie and Joanne: I get the sense that there are mixed feelings on this possibility for Chicago. And just as your comments relfect, there are two views; profit or loss? Anyone have any facts on this?

  • How is it disingenuous? At any rate, the White House is not “making the bid.” The Obamas are simply attempting to give the bid a boost. The leaders of the other 3 countries under consideration will be there as well.

    How can these Republican boobs even open their mouths about this? They seem to have very short memories or at least I assume they hope that their constituents do. GWB spent 4 DAYS in Beijing! Obama’s trip including flight time will take about 18 hours. Jesus, the hypocracy!

    I thought it interesting that that great mind Glenn Beck took pains in his objections to Obama’s trip in noting that the Vancouver Olympics had lost millions of dollars. Interesting in that the Vancouver Olympics haven’t taken place yet. Very prescient of him.

    Joanne, your assumptions about who will or will not profit in Chicago is off base. As Jeanne observes, there will in fact be many hundreds of jobs to build or alter venues and to accomplish all the planning necessary to pull it all off. Will some of the profits be shuffled into undeserving pockets? No doubt. When and where is that NOT the case? And anyhow, cronies and mobsters gotta eat, too.


  • Doug Hunter

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Obama throwing his support to pull the Olympics here and I sincerely hope he succeeds. I think there’s a bit of danger in tying his name to the bid if we don’t get it, a small loss of face. I want the US to succeed in all it’s endeavors even if Democrats are running the country.

    I also think the people of Chicago with their lukewarm view of the whole concept are seriously hampering our chances. Recent polls have shown the population evenly split or against the idea whereas other potential venues are 85-90% in favor. I don’t understand the attitude, hosting the Olympics is another chance to bring people from around the world (and their money) into this country and show them a positive side of the US and stimulate the local economy at the same time.

  • #2 The number on this comment seems fitting

    (Seems a little disingenuous that the White House is making the Olympic bid, but that’s politics. Who will profit? Not the people looking for work in Chicago, but for the cronies of the Chicago mob.)

    may I ask what specific group you are referring to here? Or Are you one of those individuals who call powerful groups of people not of English decent MAFIA?

  • # 3 Christine,

    I can ask you to watch Maddow’s piece on this subject; it aired yesterday. This might be akin to you asking me to watch Glen Beck.

    I don’t think I can Christine, sorry…:(

  • Jeannie, I think Valerie Jarrett stands to profit and was even granted an “ethics waiver” by the White House..hmmm???

    White House Grants Jarrett Ethics Waiver to Lead Efforts to Bring 2016 Olympics to Chicago

    Clavos, I finally figured out how to do links her on the comments!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeannie #7, I watch Rachel Maddow almost every night, in between CNN and Fox. Must of missed that one.

  • Ditto #4 & #5 !

  • OK, link didn’t work, darn it! Back to the tutorial…

  • #11 Christine I’m having trouble with links also. I used my instructions from before when I was here but they don’t work! I don’t think it’s you.

  • Jeannie, ok I don’t feel like such a dumbbell!

  • Steele continues to show what an ill-informed buffoon he is. There will be jobs created if and when they win the bid. They don’t start prepping the year it takes place.

    LA didn’t occur any debt, so the notion that it has to cost money is not an absolute

  • Doug Hunter

    The other issue that seems to cloud these things is that of corrupt politics. That’s true regardless of which location the Olympics go to. In big cities connections with the political elite is simply how business gets done and, yes, buddies of Daley and the Obamas will certainly get fat contracts if Chicago wins. That’s no reason to try and derail this process. Would you rather corrupt politicians in Rio get the benefit? Bring jobs, money, and prestige to the US when you have the chance and deal with the separate issue of corruption as it presents itself.

  • Still, it’s disturbing, Doug, that we can’t seem to break this unholy alliance. It’s as though graft and corruption are here to stay, and we had better accept it.

  • Baronius

    The financial outcome of a one-time business venture is hard to predict. As I recall, the primary source of revenue for the Olympics is NBC.

    I’ve got no problem with the President visiting Copenhagen.

  • Doug Hunter

    The economic output? Since when did government care about that? The government pays people to delay finding jobs, pays single mothers to have children, pays and rewards people for not claiming enough income and suddenly people are worried about a few billion that will actually be redistributed to middle class workers doing jobs that will actually bring foreign money into the US. That’s crazy talk.

  • It’s nothing unusual or outrageous for a head of state to lend his weight to an Olympic bid in his country. Putin did it to help win Russia’s bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Blair was a key player in bring the 2012 Summer Games to London. Even way back in 1936, Hitler… never mind, let’s not go there! 🙂

    My objection is that the US has already hosted four Olympics in the last 30 years and can’t seem to stop bidding for the damn things. Sure, it’s one of the few countries that can afford to hold the Games, but let a few other countries have a go!

    Perhaps it’s time the IOC put a rotation policy in place, like the one FIFA has which ensures that no country on a continent which has hosted the event can bid on the next two.

  • Doug Hunter

    They could but the last summer games were held here in 1996 so that puts us on the fifth cycle, of seven continents (and really, is Antarctica ever going to get it’s fair shot at a summer games). It’s not that far out of whack although Canada and Mexico may have something to say about which country on the continent is hogging all the glory.

  • I’m trying not to be partial, but except for Russia or China, the ex satellites countries are rarely considered.

    Warsaw, Poland would make an excellent choice with its long term tradition in sports and track and field in particular. And so would Hungary or the Czech Republic. Even Romania.

    And what about France? When was the last time that France hosted the games.

    But I forget. The French are too chauvinistic and temperamental, so that’s two strikes against them.

  • Poland may yet make a bid before too long, Roger. They’re already co-hosting, with Ukraine, the 2012 European Football Championship – and may end up as sole hosts if the Ukrainian preparations, which are by all accounts an absolute shambles, don’t make some pretty big strides pretty soon.

    A moderately-sized tournament like that is the perfect testing-ground for a country’s capability to host one of the Big Two – the Olympics or the World Cup.

  • I don’t know when was the last time you’ve been to Europe, Dreadful, but if and when you do, make sure to visit Warsaw. It’s a beautiful city – close to 2 million by now – and it’s being reconstructed since the war. Cracow, too, is worth seeing, if only for the traces of the medieval past. And it had not been touched by the war.

  • Doug, I didn’t mean that each continent should take turns. FIFA tried that with the World Cup and it didn’t work out too well after it came to South America’s turn and nobody except Brazil wanted to put in a bid. Hence the modification. South Africa is hosting it next year, so no African country was allowed to put in a bid for 2014 or 2018, but they can for 2022. I think that’s a pretty fair way of doing things.

    Of course that would make the US entitled to bid, but since they always seem to be either hosting a Games or bidding on one, I just reckon it might be time for them to step aside for a decade or two. 🙂

  • You might enjoy the slide show, Dreadful.

  • Baronius

    Every few years someone brings up the idea of a permanent Olympic venue in Athens. That sounds reasonable to me.

  • Bar,

    It may be reasonable, but I think the Olympics is too big a prize for things to change.

    It’s true that a number of former host cities have lost money on the games. Nevertheless, hosting the Olympics is a huge plum, and it does provide a lot of work for people and some businesses manage to flourish before, during and even after the games are done.

    It ain’t all greatness and glory. Apparently, entire neighborhoods were destroyed and the residents displaced to accommodate the Beijing Olympics with little or no compensation. Further, it’s often that a number of the venues built especially for the Olympics wither and die after the games, winding up under the wrecking ball.

    Personally, I love the Olympics – both summer and winter games. Actually, what I enjoy most are the opening and closing ceremonies. I think they will have to retire the trophy, as it were, after the Beijing opening ceremonies.They were awesome. The people planning the London games have stated that they have no intention of trying to outdo China in this regard. China had resources – namely people – that Britain nor any other country I can think of outside of India perhaps, that could muster that number of people to participate in such an event. Most of the Beijing participants – some 25 to 30 thousand of them – literally spent months living and working together and rehearsing hours on end. That couldn’t happen in London, here in the US or even India. I don’t believe India has the kind of resources to pull that off.

    All that being said, I won’t be crushed if Chicago doesn’t win, but from my perspective, it would be nice in that I’m just a few hours away down here in Indy, and I just might be able to actually go see f my favorite sport live. Oh wait. Curling is a winter event. Damn!


  • In that case, B-tone, just hop on a plane and mosey on up to Vancouver this winter. I mean, it’s almost the US, and who knows when you’ll next get the chance. The way things are going, it may not even be possible to have a Winter Olympics for much longer…

  • Baronius

    Are you trying to give Jordan a heart attack? Canada is almost the US?!?

    I’d like to see some of the indoor events like boxing and swimming switched to the Winter Olympics. The winter games have always limped behind the summer ones, and now that they’re off-years, the difference stands out even more.

  • Baronius has a good point. The Summer Olympics are a bit top heavy. Certainly, boxing, wrestling and martial arts events have no connection to a particular season. One associates swimming and diving with summer, I suppose, but as it all takes place indoors, what does it matter? Certainly, gymnastics is not seasonal.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to see them run a marathon in winter, or instead of “beach” volleyball, have “snow” volleyball. Of course, they should keep the bikinis. 🙂


  • Another point – too many venues in the summer event; there’s no way you can see all you want to see. Track and field, my favorite, is a feast in and of itself.

  • Baronius

    Baritone – How about outdoor swimming in winter? Actually, I’d like to see indoor volleyball in the winter and beach in the summer, so that the best players could have time to compete in both.

    Roger – Exactly. If summer is too big, and winter is too small, this doesn’t take a math genius…

  • What a great sports discussion!

    [looks at section]


  • Roger, track and field is my favorite. When I was young and a “track star”…my dream was to be in the Olympics, back when I could run a 5:40 mile and 12 minute 2 mile (pic on my website). Cross country too. Mary Decker was my idol.

    Matthew, lol

  • That’s a pretty decent time, Christine. I have no idea what women do these days in a mile – must be around 4:30 or less.

    Poland has a great track & field tradition. I’ve seen some of the stars of old – Zatopec was virtually unbeatable in anything from 5,000 meters and up. And Vladimir Kuc, a Russian long-distance world champion held world records for 5,000 and 10,000 meters. We were also great in field events, discus, javelin and hammer throws. And believe it or not, in 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Polish boxers had five golds medals. We were a powerhouse then – bigger than Russia.

  • If I read one more asshole try to claim Obama wasn’t born in the US I’m gonna hurl.

    Just how fucking stupid has this country become?

  • In fact, the entire US Olympic team was in Warsaw track and field meet before Melbourne Olympics and what a show it was – Poland may have lost but not by much – people like Lee Evans, O’Brien, Al Querter, Raphael Johnson, not to mention US basketball team starring Bill Russell.

  • Hurl a hammer or a javelin, Jet. And pierce them straight through the heart.

  • I was right:

    “Doina Melinte of Romania . . . setting a record of 4 minutes 17.13 seconds in the women’s mile.”

    October 1, 2009 NYT.

  • I don’t think Stan (STM) was old enough to have seen Melbourne Olympics.

  • Roger, wow, Doina Melinte would be running laps around my mile!

  • well maybe only 1.5 laps?

  • That is embarrassing, ain’t it?

  • Yeah, but for most people it would be around 10 laps!

  • Tell you the truth, Christine, I never got below 5:30 by I was already past my prime.

    Mile wasn’t really my distance – anyway, you have to train in it to become good.

    I was better at long distances – did plenty of interval training – and decent at sprints, but not under 11 seconds per 100 meters. Lousy.

    My uncle though was 14.8 100 meter hurdles – decent time for 1939 Olympics.

  • Sorry, Christine – that news bulletin was from 1990. Mentions Peter Elliott, long gone.

  • This is up to date: stats on both men and women.

  • Arch Conservative

    To the average American the Olympics pales in comparison to the importance of things like finding a job, being able to pay for their healthcare, saving for retirement, etc etc

    Having a near trillion dollar stimulus turn out to be a bust, trying to foist capo and tax on America and failing, running his mouth on the Democrats life saving health care plan and then seeing over half the population oppose it, failing to close Gitmo by the timeline he set……..this presidency is turning out to be a pathetic joke.

    It amazes me when I ear the moonbats talk about how much he has accomplished. Aside from calling Kanye West a jackass he hasn’t done jack shit right.

    Now he’s grandstanding on the Olympics as he tries to pay back all the crooked Chicagoans who helped him get to where he is today.

    Who gives a fuck about the Olympics. They can have them on the moon if they want. I’d trade the travelling circus to Rio or any other city any day for some real and productive leadership on the domestic issues we’re currently facing.

  • Jordan Richardson

    To the average American, bacon is a vegetable.

  • Baronius

    Well, if it’s a decoration on top of a burger, it’s got to be a vegetable. Just like lettuce, tomato, or cheese. Don’t you Canadians know anything?

  • LOL, about bacon! Very bad for you by the way.

  • Associated Press — Chicago Eliminated from 2016 Olympic Bid

  • Tokyo also. It’s between Rio and Madrid.

  • Tokyo out too!

  • Arch, from what I’ve observed the average American would rather have a 756″ super wide screen thermonuclear-powered plasma TV that can also make popcorn and do yard work than save for anything, including retirement and healthcare.

  • My bacon garden is coming on a treat. The rashers are ripening nicely, and looking lovely in among the leaves as they start to take on their fall colors.

    I think my cheese trees have aphids, though. Bugger.

  • Thanks Dr. D, you are on top of the story too…do you think it will be Rio?

  • I suspect it will, and that Madrid is going to be pissed – having been unsuccessful with yet another bid.

    Rio (supposedly) will have a lot of infrastructure already in place since Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup. That fact may count against it, though – can the country really host both of the world’s two largest sporting events within a two-year period? Sure, it’s been done before – by Mexico, Germany and the USA – but still…

    Madrid has already built most of the venues and has superb infrastructure, but will the IOC really be willing to host two straight Games in Europe?

    Ah well, we’ll know in about half an hour.

  • Obama’s didn’t even bring home the “BRONZE”!!!

  • I’m astonished – as many people in Copenhagen seem to have been as well – that Chicago was eliminated first. It seems that perhaps the IOC delegates share my reservations about the US hosting the Games so often.

  • The BBC says the winning city has been chosen and will be announced at about 1650 GMT (1250 Eastern, 0950 Pacific).

  • Baronius

    I didn’t have a problem with the President going to Copenhagen, and I still don’t. Some people were saying that he would only go if it were a done deal, and that going to Copenhagen and coming back without an Olympics would be a loss of face. I think that the fall of Afghanistan or a nuclear Iran constitutes a loss of face; not getting the Olympics is a minor disappointment.

  • I agree, Herr Baron. The new Japanese prime minister is also at the ceremony, as is the King of Spain and President Lula. If anything, I think loss of face in this instance is going to be a bigger deal for the Japanese than any of the other leaders.

  • Thinking about it, I’m actually not all that surprised that Chicago was shown the door. There’s a lot of politics involved, and memories are long.

    The last two occasions the United States hosted an Olympics left a sour taste in the mouth for many people. There was the way the US approached the Atlanta Games as an American glory-fest rather than an international sporting celebration; and of course the whole bribery scandal surrounding the selection of Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games.

  • Your link crashed my browser, Christine.

    Not your fault, of course, but I think I’ll stick with the good old BBC!


  • Sorry..that one is BNO news. Who are they?

  • Rio!!!!!!

  • It’s Rio!

  • zingzing

    doc: “There was the way the US approached the Atlanta Games as an American glory-fest rather than an international sporting celebration”

    jeeeeeeez. first of all, what are you talking about. maybe CORPORATE america… but to say that “the US” did anything of the sort is just ridiculous.

    that said, the olympics IS an american glory-fest. the story is usually who’s going to come in 2nd place. and if you remember it as some falsified america ra-ra thing, you don’t remember what happened there at all.

    no offense, but go stick your stinky cheese up your european ass. lala. we’ll poop all our medals on your lawn if you’re not careful

  • First of all, zing, I’m just saying that was the perception. It seemed to a lot of people that there was an overwhelming blast of jingoistic brouhaha which got worse the more medals the US won. Then, when somebody else won something, it was, “Huh, Vladimir won gold in the backstroke. He’s not American. Does not compute. Meh. Next!”

    Second of all, enjoy it while it lasts. The Chinese beat you out in Beijing and they’ll probably do even better in London.

  • “The Audacity of Arrogance”!

  • zingzing

    well, the chinese lost by 10 medals, but i’ll give you the golds… (and at the next olympics, i’m none too worried about the chinese. maybe the next summer games, but we’ll see how they do when they aren’t the host nation.)

    and the olympics is always jingoistic. it’s an international competition. maybe it shouldn’t be on certain levels, but it is (and in many ways that’s the way it should be).

    “Then, when somebody else won something, it was, “Huh, Vladimir won gold in the backstroke. He’s not American. Does not compute. Meh. Next!””


  • zingzing

    christine, every nation sent a very high ranking official. kings, prime ministers, presidents. if you want to make this into some sort of anti-obama thing, go ahead, but you know who isn’t hosting the 2016 olympics? the usa.

    and your smirking doesn’t change that fact.

  • zingzing

    “The Audacity of Schadenfreude, pt 2: When Schadenfreude is Self-reflexive”!

  • zing, you had the benefit of watching on American TV, whose Olympics coverage is always like that – so you probably didn’t notice anything excessively pompous. I, on the other hand, watched the Games on the BBC.

    It just seemed that, whereas Barcelona had seemed to send out the message, ‘Barcelona welcomes the world’, Atlanta seemed to be saying, ‘Atlanta sort of welcomes the world, but puts it in its cheapest room in the basement. And then steals its wallet.’

  • Anyway, I’ll be having a caipirinha tonight to celebrate. Must remember to pick up some limes though. Saude!

  • zing, the irony of your comments to me, juxtaposed with your comments to Christine, is rather sublime.

  • zingzing

    “zing, you had the benefit of watching on American TV, whose Olympics coverage is always like that – so you probably didn’t notice anything excessively pompous. I, on the other hand, watched the Games on the BBC.”

    frankly, england doesn’t have much to celebrate usually. and i’m sure that chinese television focused on the chinese (not that i’m saying chinese media does anything but focus on the chinese…) and yes, us television focuses on the us. why? $$. don’t be fooled. you’re getting on sore loser territory here, doc.

    “It just seemed that, whereas Barcelona had seemed to send out the message, ‘Barcelona welcomes the world’, Atlanta seemed to be saying, ‘Atlanta sort of welcomes the world, but puts it in its cheapest room in the basement. And then steals its wallet.'”

    where you’re getting this from, i don’t know. i really have no clue why you would think that. with every olympics, there is controversy of some kind or another. if atlanta says anything, it said “i’m gonna blow your ass up and blame it on this guy over here.” and beijing said “hope you can breathe.” and athens said, “we’re going broke because of you assholes.”

    that said, if you compare atlanta and barcelona on any level, you’ll find that barcelona is a beautiful place and that atlanta is a shithole. you ever been there? the nicest places are dull, “new south,” “business first,” while the worst places may be interesting, but only in the way a carjacking is interesting. seriously. as far as major cities in the us go, atlanta ranks right up there with the worst of them. there really is no good reason to go there.

  • No, I’ve never been there, but as far as I can tell Atlanta is like Fresno only several times bigger (shudder). I’m sure if I went there I would be able to see Sherman’s point.

    It does, however, have the advantage of possessing America’s busiest airport, which makes getting out of Atlanta and far away a doddle.

  • zingzing

    “zing, the irony of your comments to me, juxtaposed with your comments to Christine, is rather sublime.”

    i know it. but i think you go too far in your statement. the bbc may have more even-handed coverage, but that’s because it’s a station watched around the world. it has to do with audience. and i watched the 2000 olympics on the bbc and rather british-heavy. i wanted to see the us vs russia stuff (always the most interesting for me as a child). but no… we got to see australians and englishmen prancing on fucking horses. blaaaaah.

    it seems more like you’re decrying the fact that american television shows sports that americans like and are good at.

  • not in the mile.
    I have no respect for America’s shabby treatment of track & field athletes. Just because the sport is not a box-office success, there is no reason to disrespect it. Truck & field is the queen of all sports, the purest in execution, beauty and the spirit of individual competition.

    But all this is lost on the vulgar American psyche which tends to measure all value in dollars and cents. So every four years or so our interest in these athletes peaks out, because then it becomes a matter of national pride, while all throughout these athletic programs are neglected, underfunded, and receive no mention.

    I have a much greater respect for the Europeans, England in particular but also the Eastern bloc countries, for having a running program in place, all year round, and for promoting physical culture as an end in itself. Sure, lot has got to do with national pride, but national pride is a better motive in my estimation than just making a buck.

    But you should be aware of all that, zing. So it’s just a reminder.

  • zingzing

    “i watched the 2000 olympics on the bbc and IT WAS rather british-heavy”

    i wonder if my brain actually thinks that way… “watched 2000 olympics bbc rather british-heavy…”

  • Truck and field?

    Four laps in an F-150? That’d be fun!!!

  • zingzing

    roger: “I have no respect for America’s shabby treatment of track & field athletes.”

    you must not watch the same broadcast i do. i can’t think of a sport they show more of. swimming might be near the same realm, but not really. maybe gymnastics. but track makes up a good chunk of broadcast time. that said, watching the 10,000 meter is not riveting television.

  • it seems more like you’re decrying the fact that american television shows sports that americans like and are good at.

    To excess. And to the point of completely ignoring absolutely everything else. NBC’s primetime coverage is the worst offender. Call me churlish, but I rather like my viewing to consist of a bit more than just Watching Michael Phelps Win A Race, alternating with Documentaries About Michael Phelps’s Mom.

  • Americans don’t care for sports – unless it’s football, wrestling, and don’t forget the beer.

    Again, no sense of aesthetics – only fanaticism, which is to say – only a way of boosting a nonexisting ego.

  • Baseball may be the only exception – and I know Dreadful will disagree because he thinks it’s dull. But it’s a beautiful game.

  • zingzing

    “To excess. And to the point of completely ignoring absolutely everything else. NBC’s primetime coverage is the worst offender. Call me churlish,”

    you’re churlish. and it does not “completely ignor[e] absolutely everything else.” you can’t even begin to defend that.

  • zingzing

    roger, basketball shows some pretty amazing athletic ability and has many aesthetic pleasures. as does hockey. certainly baseball, football, basketball and hockey make up our big four sports, but that’s only on television. all four make for pretty good tv, which is why they’re shown there.

    and don’t forget about nascar. (blar)

    and wrestling, at least the one you refer to, isn’t a sport, it’s a soap opera with tiny testicles.

  • And you talk about riveting television… c’m on. Medal ceremonies? Not exactly Excitement Central. And very repetitious.

    During the Beijing Olympics, I can only recall seeing one medal presentation in which the gold was not awarded to an American athlete, and that was only because the ceremony for the men’s marathon was incorporated into the closing ceremony and they couldn’t ignore it. (I guess going to commercial at that point would have been too obvious.)

  • Zing,

    If you really want to see good Olympic coverage, you’ve got to turn away from the networks and go to special cable channels. The networks are only about the show and the pizazz. But I shouldn’t be telling you that because you know it already.

    Believe it or not, there are sports aficionados, but Americans know jack shit about it.

    It’s time to visit Europe.

  • Baseball is dull. Two guys playing catch with a third guy in the middle waving a stick and trying to ruin their game.

    And before you counter with ‘cricket is even more boring’ – I agree.

    Cue Stan at this point…?!

  • zingzing

    doc: thought you were watching the bbc… and i don’t watch the medal ceremonies all that often, but i suspect you are being a little disingenuous here. come on. they showed the gymnastics medal ceremonies, and americans didn’t win all the golds there. so… churlish!

    roger: i can’t remember which nbc affiliate it is that runs concurrent coverage of other events, but i know its there… cnbc? msnbc? whichever. but yeah, you can get away from the ridiculous little documentaries and medal ceremonies if you want. which is what i do. or if they’re showing fucking snowboarding. gahd.

    i don’t have a tv, so i don’t know what’s on here, but my brother lives in dc and they have a channel (without buying cable) devoted entirely to coverage of the kinds of sports you see in the olympics.

  • I’m not going to counter it with anything. There is a certain beauty to baseball, but it’s in the eye of the beholder, I agree. It must grow on you, you’ve got to give it time.

    But but the same token, you can’t complain why the Yanks can’t get excited about soccer – not enough action, they say. And from that standpoint, they’re right.

  • If you really want to see good Olympic coverage, you’ve got to turn away from the networks and go to special cable channels.

    To their credit, CNBC and the USA Network did show some varied coverage of sports in which the USA did not necessarily have good medal chances – but only during the day.

    If an alien had happened to tune into NBC’s primetime coverage, he could have been forgiven for thinking that the United States was the only nation competing. And that Bob Costas did not have a set of top teeth.

  • That’s one reason I’ve long since stopped watching the summer events. I am that alien.

  • zingzing

    doc, i used to think baseball was dull as well. but you’re just not looking at it the right way. a majority of the time, it’s a man-on-man sport, with the pitcher and the batter in a duel. i don’t see how anyone can like baseball without realizing what an incredible skill it is to throw that ball 100 miles an hour to a very specific location. and the amount of mental fuckery that goes into pitch selection/location–like throwing a high fastball inside to scare the shit out of the batter–gives the game a psychological edge that is pretty amazing.

    if the batter gets a hit, then the game turns into a sort of structured pinball machine for a few seconds, then we’re back to man-on-man play, but with the added psychological issues of a runner for the pitcher and batter to deal with.

    it’s a game of psychology and strategy to an unusually high level, and if you don’t understand those things, then yes, it can appear dull. it’s a game you have to pay attention to in a different way. most sports are like that–in that you have to understand the unique aesthetics of the game in order to enjoy them.

  • Good old BBC. I just found this video whilst waiting for zing to rise to my baseball insult. Hilarious. Enjoy, but sorry about the loud commercial that precedes it. I think there was a medal ceremony going on.

  • zing, I must admit it is pretty cool when the fielding team gets two or more runners out on a single play. To achieve that, each fielder has to be aware of where everyone is and what’s going on everywhere on the field at all times. Very impressive.

  • zingzing

    that video was pretty special. stephen fry has a perfect voice for that kind of work… of course, that’s only because if it’s a british nature program, it’s got some british fogey snuffling and half-whispering alliteration like there’s no fucking tomorrow. but fry is, at least, a very funny man. not like that attenborough dick.

  • Don’t you dare diss St David, zing!

    And now, this thread has been tremendous fun but I have errands to run [makes disgusted farting noise].

  • That and Mr. Fry is openly gay and proud

  • is that supposed to contribute to the conversation?

  • zingzing

    well, jet, i had no idea he did this, and i had no idea he did that either. actually, i wouldn’t have figure him for either one. shows what i know.

    and doc, i can’t fuckin stand david attenborough. he ruined planet earth for me. smug prick.

  • If you go to my Gay Pride page Zing, you’ll find nearly a thousand names on the banner of out and proud celebrities, politicians and sports figures

  • Speaking of which…Cleveland has been tapped as the host city for the 2014 Gay Games, a sports and cultural festival that organizers say attracts as many as 12,000 athletes and generates tens of millions of dollars in spending.

    The announcement on the city’s selection was made this week in Cologne, Germany, site of the 2010 games. Organizers said Cleveland won rights to host in 2014 after a year-long bidding process that included Boston and Washington, D.C., as finalists. The Gay Games last were held in the U.S. in 2006, when they were hosted in Chicago.

    New York and San Francisco also have played host to the event for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes, which is said to generate up to $80 million in local economic impact.

    The Federation of Gay Games said the festival in Cleveland will take place Aug. 9-16, 2014, and feature 30 sporting events, four special events and opening and closing ceremonies.

    Gov. Ted Strickland applauded Cleveland’s selection, saying the gathering will be among the largest ever hosted in the state.

    I plan to write a few articles on this… they’ll look very strange in the culture section

  • Zing, you can’t tell me that the White House was not counting on Obama’s worldwide appeal. He should of left it to the women, Michelle and Oprah…we would’ve gotten the silver at least!

    Wow, too many comments to follow!

  • Not from me. I’m neither for gay pride, nor White House pride – only for human pride.

  • Okay, I’ll go back to commenting only on my own strings

  • I wasn’t knocking gay pride, Jet, only appealing to a higher call.

    And it ought to include all of us – humans, vegetables and minerals.

  • zingzing

    christine, i’m not sure what you’re trying to say with that first sentence. and i don’t think “the white house” (i guess you mean the administration,) is really that bothered one way or another. sure, it would have been nice, some jobs would have been created, etc, etc. but that’s just a blip on the radar. life goes on.

    is it a little bit of a slap in the face? sure. but then it’s a slap in the face to every other country that didn’t get it. plenty of red faces. laugh at japan’s prime minister and the king of spain as well.

    plus, we didn’t really have a chance anyway. south america has NEVER hosted an olympics, and we’ve hosted four in the last 30 years. if we had gotten it, i would have been shocked.

  • Jet, you are welcome here, I was saying too many comments to read. Zing, right, not a big deal, happy for RIO…game over!

  • Cleveland has been tapped as the host city for the 2014 Gay Games

    Good on Cleveland. Cleveland rocks. (Presumably. Never been there.)

    Where are the Gay Games happening next year? Are they having them in Riyadh, just for a laugh? 🙂

  • i can’t fuckin stand david attenborough. he ruined planet earth for me. smug prick.

    Then watch it with the fucking sound off. Sheesh. Attenborough is nature programmes. If it wasn’t for him we’d all still be watching Disney’s stupid ducks crash-landing on ice. Man’s a legend.

    And he doesn’t alliterate. You’re thinking of Alan Whicker.

  • 2nd paragraph of comment 107 Doc-Cologne Germany

  • Believe it or not a lot of straight athletes compete in The Gay Games to defend their world records-silly enough to think they’ll have an easy time of it against a bunch of pansies.

  • Ah, I missed that bit, Jet. I thought Cologne was just the city where the announcement was made.

    Believe it or not a lot of straight athletes compete in The Gay Games

    What are the entry criteria? I mean, how is one to prove that one is in fact gay? Must one provide a practical demonstration?

    Or does one simply say, if questioned, “Yep, I’m gay all right. Gay as a circus tent. Gay as a Mexican goalkeeper’s jersey. Gay, gay, gay.” [Notices Games administrators staring pointedly at supermodel wife who is gazing at him a bit too adoringly] “Oh, have you met Steve? Just had the op. Does he have a terrific surgeon or what?!?”


  • Doc, out of curiosity I looked it up: Some 12,000 participants from more than 70 countries will converge for the Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010 and celebrate the principles of participation, inclusion and personal best.

    The motto is “Be part of it!” And the invitation is open to everyone – regardless whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, male, female, transgender or transsexual, and regardless of religion, nationality, ethnic heritage, political convictions, athletic skills, physical capabilities, age or physical condition.

    You can register here for the VIII Gay Games. It’s worthwhile to register early! Some sports and cultural events are limited to a certain number of participants and may fill up quickly. Besides that, the sooner you register, the lower the fees! Click on Culture for more information about cultural events, and Sport for information such as age and performance restrictions and conditions for participation in each individual sport.

    each sport has it’s own requirements but the above are the general ones. There are also handicapped ones

  • zingzing

    doc: “Then watch it with the fucking sound off. Sheesh. Attenborough is nature programmes. If it wasn’t for him we’d all still be watching Disney’s stupid ducks crash-landing on ice. Man’s a legend.”

    heh. i really don’t dislike him. his voice sometimes does get on my nerves, mainly because whenever the science teacher wanted to take the day off, we got stuck watching one of his documentaries. i just wanted to say “he ruined planet earth.” you know, because it’s ironic… showing us the natural beauty… ruin… you… i think… yeah.

    “And he doesn’t alliterate. You’re thinking of Alan Whicker.”

    oh, he uses alliteration. he was alliterating as well as any asshole can. like a stuttering fart, he. i kid, but he certainly does try to back up the moving picture things with a little bit of poetry, and it sometimes goes a bit over the top.

    alan whicker… i’m not sure i want to know. who was the guy who did those ones for pbs? marty something… maybe. bearded guy. guy had the best intentions i’m sure, but jeeeeez.

  • alan whicker… i’m not sure i want to know. who was the guy who did those ones for pbs?

    He’s a veteran British journo, known for his thick glasses and his distinctive and much-impersonated drawling delivery. You may well have seen him on PBS. He made a name for himself by pursuing the great [sic] and the good [sic] to exotic, usually tropical locations and subjecting them to interviews and documentaries.

    The Monty Python crew spoofed him in this famous skit.

    Coolio also featured an impersonation of him on his hit “1-2-3-4”.

  • Wow. I didn’t realize we’re talking about 2016.

    Dreadful should be happy, then, about 2012 games – the Wimbledon and the Wembley stadium venues are already in place.

    A question for Dreadful – before your times, of course – World Cup Final soccer match at Wembley, 1954, 7:1, Hungary (the real dream team).

    Here’s some footage.

  • Here’s another clip, this time a German broadcast.

    Anyone who says soccer isn’t exciting after seeing this match needs their head examined.

  • And this.

  • (I just had to let you all know that the comments are quite brilliant – I look forward to reading more of them!!!)

  • #121,

    Only the Brits can do skits like that.

  • More on football history.

  • Ah, the Hungarian team of the 50s – one of the greatest teams of all time.

    Just to set the record straight, though, Roger, the game in which Hungary beat England 7-1 was not a World Cup match, and it was played in Budapest. It was an important game because it proved that the previous game between the two teams – in which Hungary beat England 6-3 at Wembley – was no fluke. And the significance of that match in the history of football is that it was the first time that England had lost on home soil to a team from outside the British Isles.

    Hungary did, however, have a 7-1 win at the 1954 World Cup – over Germany in the group stages. The Germans got their revenge by coming from 2-0 down to beat Hungary 3-2 in the final – the first of their many World Cup triumphs!

  • Sorry, I did mess up on some facts. The 7:1 was a rematch in Budapest. No TV yet – but I listened to the broadcast on the radio. It was considered to be one of the greatest upsets in history. I wish I could get the tape of the entire match.

    Anyway, I thought you might appreciate the postings. I couldn’t help it too. The football memories started haunting me.

  • I never realized, Dreadful, that this was a new kind of football, resumed by the Dutch teams a decade or so later.

    I loved those teams – explosive and revolutionary football. Even Poland did pretty good in the World Cup, making to the semis if not further (I think it was in 1966). I was stationed in Verdun, Framce, at the time.

  • Poland have taken third place in the World Cup twice, Rog – in 1974 and 1982. There were no semi-finals in ’74: the winners of the two second-stage groups advanced straight to the final, with the runners-up contesting the third-place match. In that game, Poland beat Brazil – pretty impressive considering the famous Brazilian team that had won the Cup four years earlier.

    In ’82, the Poles lost out to eventual winners Italy in the semis and then beat France in the third/fourth place play-off.

    Sadly, your guys are looking unlikely to qualify for the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Poland are currently fifth out of six teams in their qualifying group with two tough games left to play – away to the Czech Republic and at home to group leaders Slovakia.

  • steve

    Maybe Chicago can host the Special Olympics…Obama likes to poke fun at Americans with special needs…maybe he can give back and make things right and let Chicago host them!!!

  • Might want to take a look at this, Dreadful, based on the Oscar Wilde story, starring Glenda Jackson, remember her?

  • And it is a Ken Russell film.

  • The complete play.

  • Richard Strauss’ final scene. (Part 1 of 3)