Why It’s Good Chicago Lost the Olympics

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


After Rio beat out Chicago for the 2016 Olympics games—despite President Barack Obama’s up-close-and-personal intervention—I asked Andrew Jennings, a British journalist who has spent years investigating the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and digging up much dirt on its members and practices, for his reaction. He didn’t hold back:

Serve you right, suckers! Allowing yourselves to be judged by a bunch of third-rate nobodies and C-list European royalty [on the IOC] who care more about their comfort than the dreams of the athletes.

 

How can you do business with an organisation that has 106 members – only 16 are women?

 

Could it be that corruption in Brazilian sport and society is rampant – and offers all kinds of opportunities to screw the multi-billion dollar budget?

 

Chicago has a bad reputation for corruption – but at least a lot of the malefactors get caught and go to jail. That is not an Olympic dream at the IOC. At the BBC a few years ago, we did a sting on an IOC member with hidden cameras and taped him asking for a bribe. They are now very wary where they go.

 

We all know the Feds do stings – good bye Windy City.

 

The good news is that Madrid’s loss shows the diminishing influence of the IOC’s last president, Juan Antonio Samaranch. He was IOC president from 1980 to 2001 and gave the games to Beijing. Perhaps that was because he felt at ease with the media restrictions – similar to the Franco regime he served for 37 years, right arm always in the air.

 

When the fuss dies down – perhaps we can investigate and see if bribes were paid? They always were – the delicious bit being that members would trouser the kickback and vote for a rival candidate.

That certainly puts today’s news in a different perspective.

 

You can follow David Corn’s postings and media appearances via Twitter.

 

 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate