This is not about whether the Obamas were smart or dumb to go to Copenhagen, Denmark, and pitch Chicago as the 2016 Olympic site.
No question, they should have gone, joining King Juan Carlos of Spain, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
President Obama was damned by the Republicans for going and mocked by the Republicans for not closing the deal. But he would have been more severely damned and mocked—and blamed—had he not gone and the U.S. lost out.
What’s more, the president was gone for one day, and he is a fair multitasker. Last I heard, Air Force One has a telephone and video conferencing systems onboard, so he didn’t have to relinquish the presidency to Joe Biden while he was aloft. In addition, he tended to foreign policy by having a 15-minute meeting with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, chief U.S. honcho in the Afghanistan war.
The real embarrassment was Chicago being eliminated on the first ballot with a pathetic 18 votes out of 94.
I got the clue the following Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
President Rogge, ladies and gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs of the International Olympic Committee: I am honored to be here.
I was born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, not far from where the Games would open and close. Ours was a neighborhood of working families—families with modest homes and strong values.
Sports were what brought our community together. They strengthen our ties to one another.
Growing up, when I played games with the kids in my neighborhood, we picked sides based not on who you were, but what you could bring to the game. Sports taught me self-confidence, teamwork, and how to compete as an equal.
Sports were a gift I shared with my dad—especially the Olympic Games.
Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad’s lap, cheering on Olga and Nadia, Carl Lewis, and others for their brilliance and perfection. Like so many young people, I was inspired. I found myself dreaming that maybe, just maybe, if I worked hard enough, I, too, could achieve something great.
Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.