Barack Obama was in Copenhagen yesterday. As the Greenpeace slogan said: "Right city, wrong date." Mr Obama was not in Denmark to save the world from climate change, but to promote Chicago's Olympic bid. His wife, Michelle, and Oprah Winfrey were also there. They were not alone: King Juan Carlos of Spain, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama all pressed the flesh for their cities. Note, not their countries. Yes, Tony and Cherie Blair started the inflationary spiral by going to Singapore to help win the 2012 Olympics for London. But has this ritual got out of hand? Mr Obama was the first sitting US president to attend the International Olympic Committee's jamboree. Was it appropriate for him to do so?
The next question is whether it was in the interests of Rio, Chicago, Madrid or Tokyo to win the games. The evidence is underwhelming. The games transformed Barcelona and were a success in Sydney, but the list of cities with empty relics and hefty bills is longer: Atlanta, Athens, Montreal and Moscow. The Beijing games were in a category of their own, sending a message that China had joined the modern world. But it locked up dissidents who uttered anything less than the authorised text.
So, whether or not Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid should have reacted the way they did when they heard they had lost the bid to host the 2016 summer games is not clear. Rio de Janeiro will now, in the words of its slogan, live its passion. The games will go to South America for the first time. It may be a while before they want them back.
Adaptado do jornal inglês The Guardian 3.10.2009
O que podemos inferir da frase “Note, not their countries”?
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