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By Staff | Oct 16, 2009

My take on why Chicago was rejected as the 2016 Olympic site is different than others. I see it as a payback for the global economic recession. The rest of the world blames the USA for the credit crunch, sub-prime mortgage fiasco, lack of regulatory financial oversight and unsound irresponsible fiscal policy, almost precipitating a total global economic meltdown.

They are angry, justifiably so, and there was no way in the world, the Olympic committee would reward us with an Olympics.

Instead, the committee gave it to a country that has recently had much better fiscal policy than we have had. Chicago didn’t lose to Rio, it lost to everybody. The U.S. came in last behind Rio, Madrid and Tokyo. That was a sharp repudiation, representing a release of animosity over what the U.S. did to the global economy.

They can’t reject the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, as they have too much invested in it themselves but they could tell us to forget about hosting an Olympics. Obama couldn’t offset that.

Were the site of the 2016 Olympics chosen on the basis of physical ability to host the games, site events, handle the influx of large numbers of people and keep them safe, there is no question that Chicago should have blown out competitors by a wide margin. Chicago is built to be an Olympic city; Rio is not. It’s not even close. Rio’s small airports, inadequate mass transit and limited hotel accommodations are all shortcomings. Lula da Silva says that Rio, known for its crime, will be on its best behavior. That must mean that the guy that stole one of my carry-ons in the airport Pizza Hut there will take the week off from being a criminal for the Olympics.

What Brazilians have going for them is enthusiasm. While half of all Chicagoans didn’t want to host the Olympic games, Brazilians will go nuts at the prospect. Brazil is an emerging developing nation and wants to prove it.

Half of whatever the Brazilians promised to the Olympic committee is hot air. Brazilians love to tell you what you want to hear and then act surprised if you’re surprised when they don’t follow through.

The exception, however, is when they party. Carnival shuts the whole country down each year for a week. Carnival actually made my son angry.

Their success in putting together such a big bash showed that they could do things right when they wanted to. Unfortunately, things like fixing roads are not as high a priority as a party.

Can Brazil pull it off? Yes, they can and will, but it won’t be executed with quite the precision seen in Beijing. As the first Olympics held in South America, some of the differences will be cultural, giving Brazil a chance to put their own mark on the games. I was in Brazil when it won the world cup soccer championship. There was nothing else going on in their world but soccer and when they won, the population literally poured into the streets, jammed roads with traffic, exploded fireworks and celebrated until they literally collapsed.

You farm around things like that in Brazil. We will want to have the harvest done on our farm there before the games begin.

Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, has done a remarkably good job. Labeled as a leftist and unionist, he found just the right balance for Brazil.

I can remember when his election appeared eminent that the financial conservative elite in Brazil thought it was the end of the world.

They were convinced that the “landless” would take over their country, wealth would be destroyed and Lula would align with Hugo Chavez.

The Brazilian Real currency plunged right into election day as everybody wanted to own dollars as a safe haven against Lula’s socialism. The fear was priced into the market making it an excellent time to invest in Brazil.

In this country, we elected a conservative. What I learned from all of this is don’t believe anything they tell you. This liberal/socialist – conservative labeling is all baloney. They are either good at governing or they are not. Lula was good.

Brazil’s banks are some of the most solvent in the world. Brazil’s standard of living has steadily improved. It got ethanol right, while here we are still trying to. It doesn’t hurt to be lucky and find huge reserves of oil, either.

Brazilian meat packer, JBS, used the strength of its currency to buy into U.S. companies. It now buys our cattle, processes our hogs and will soon be producing the most chickens. Those who short the Brazilian currency against the dollar bet wrong. When Brazil Iowa Farms invested in Bahia in 2004, the currency exchange was 3 to 1. Now it is 1.8 to 1. Lula has been great for foreign investors.

The Olympics are Lula’s legacy, putting him into a status that if he was an American president, his face would be carved into a granite monument somewhere. The U.S. isn’t getting picked for much of anything lately.

When the ousted Honduran president picked an embassy to hole up in, he chose the Brazilian embassy. While there has been talk of the U.S. losing its investment grade status bequeathed by debt ratings agencies, Brazil earned three coveted investment grade ratings in the past 18 months.

Brazil wanted to host the Olympics to put a different punch line at the end of the joke – Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be.

Brazilians believe that their future has arrived and in 2016, will make the most of their chance to prove it to the world.

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