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The Copenhagen Vote - 1 Year Later


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Rumors are spreading, both in the corridors of the Bella Center in Copenhagen, host of the ongoing IOC Session and in the international blogosphere, that Chicago loosing in the first round was due to controversy between The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Chicago Tribune commentator Philip Hersh first raised the suspicion Friday, after Chicago left the race unexpectedly early despite of the support of both the First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama, who were both present at the IOC Congress in Copenhagen.

According to Hersh, some believe IOC members' vote reflects longtime rift with U.S. leaders of the USOC.

"Chicago never had a chance, it turns out," Hersh quoted NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol for saying the day after the vote: "This was the IOC membership saying to the USOC there will be no more domestic Olympics until you join the Olympic movement."

Today, Danish newspaper Politiken reports that talk in corridors of the IOC Session in Copenhagen is of a financial disagreement between the USOC and the IOC. This disagreement is reported to be the reason why Obama was humiliated by what the newspaper call “an IOC plot” in Copenhagen.

“The International Olympic Committee had already decided not to choose Chicago even before President Obama came to Copenhagen,” writes Rasmus Bech of Politiken.

Politiken reports that the coordinated action in rejecting Chicago came as a result of dissatisfaction with the failed negotiations over revenue-sharing between the IOC and the USOC.

The disagreement is connected to a loan by the USOC to the IOC in the 1980s, when the IOC was in serious financial trouble. Since then, the IOC has become financially strong and enjoys an increase in income, out of which the USOC receive a percentage.

Since the USOC recently declined to give up part of their profit in favor of the poorest IOC countries, a group of the major international sporting federations decided to take action, winning support from IOC members to punish Chicago, reports the Danish newspaper.

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Keywords: IOC, olympic congress 2009, Olympics, Mega-Events

If this is true it is a scandal beyond scandals, and the election of the 2016 organizer turns out to be a charade, mocking everyone who

who has been involved with, or just following the proceedings around this election, which is probably the greater part of the world`s population.

Much more serious, however, is the fact that the IOC has executed brute force, in order to punish the USOC, with complete disregard for the actual facts of the biddings, which naturally should be the ONLY basis on which to select the organizing city.

It may perhaps be that bribery no longer affects the selection, instead the IOC is introducing some form of blackmail against - not the candidate city - but the USOC, and on what basis??

It appears that the IOC some years ago willingly, and probably also eagerly, made a long term financial contract with the USOC, a contract which the IOC nevertheless has,for quite some time, wanted to dishonour against all sense and decency, while all that the USOC has done, simply has been to honour the contract, and to stick to the business agreement the two parties have made.

Apparently, however, the IOC made a huge blunder, when signing the contract, and caught up in their own failure and shortcomings, as it apears, all they can do is to abuse a voting (I will not even whisper the word: democratic), by coming down full force, not primarily on the USOC, but on Chicago and on USA.

On top of that the IOC tries to imply that the USOC (not USA, allthough this will probably be a common misconception) has denied to spend some af their income from the contract on poor NOC´s - something which in all probability is not part of the contract.

What a devious way for the IOC to make the USOC/USA look vile and greedy.

How poorly and condemnably the IOC once again displays that it violates its own rules, when found fitting by the IOC.

It may be that the IOC formally answers to nobody, but it should always answer to society.

I am ashamed that this took place in Denmark.

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And yet I recall quite a few IOC members interviewed after the vote stating that they had been as shocked as anyone else by Chicago's early exit.There had been an audible gasp in the room when it was announced that Chicago had been eliminated on the first ballot.

Ill-feeling towards the USOC might have been a factor with some of the delegates but my impression is that it was more a case of certain Rio and Tokyo supporters colluding to switch votes in the first ballot so as to prevent Tokyo being humiliated and Chicago from making it through to challenge Rio.

Chicago supporters did not do enough to secure their first round votes and got squeezed out!

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One could always go through the endless debates about why Chicago was out in Round 1 and its highly likely the USOC issues had some role to play but it was not the only reason. Its called "first votes", and without enough "first votes", any great bid or powerhouse can be knocked out.

The spread of votes simply meant Chicago had not captured enough of the "first votes"

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Do you think if Tokyo was knocked out first, Chicago would have absorbed enough of their votes to make it past Madrid in the second round?

Madrid only gained three votes with the elimination of both Chicago and Tokyo. Tokyo lost two votes in the second round. New York lost three votes in the second round for 2012, so it isn't always a given that cities will increase their vote totals each round.

Don't mean to play the "what if" game, I am just curious to hear your thoughts.

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Some time ago I posted a comment in which I criticized GB's Editor for choosing Chicago's defeat as the most important thing that hapened in Copenhagen instead Rio's victory last year. Well, it's time to review my position. Indeed, to the bidding proccess, Chicago's ellimination at the first round was the most remarkable thing we saw that day and it entered to history of the bids. Rio's victory has entered to the Olympic Movement history.

Having said that, I don't think there is only one explanation for what hapened to Chicago. Here are some, IMO, not necessarily in the order of their importance:

1 - A bad moment in the USOC-IOC relationship;

2 - A sense that one more edition of the games in the USA would be boring to the rest of the World;

3 - The presence of a new frontier city, a fact that suited perfectly to JR's desire to bring the games to new continents;

4 - The lack of timing of Madrid, bidding for an editon of the OG just after London, what may have influenced European voters to support Rio's bid since there will be more European cities bidding for 2020 and 2024;

5 - Tokyo's premature bid just after Beijing 2008;

6 - Rio's underground work for years and with a successful PAN AM games - successful in terms of regional games and more successful after Santo Domingo 2003;

7 - The apparent Obama's indecision in really join the bid and the White House prepotence - and consequente humilliation - in thinking that a sudden appearence at the IOC Congress would boost Chicago.

These are, IMO, some factors. But when we talk about IOC decisions, we are talking about the decision of an organization that has become an international refference and, this way, under the international opinion pressures although not having to follow none of them. One must not expect a clear line of thought in the IOC decisions because they don't have. One also must take in account that the IOC college is formed by people which have not to explain their decisions to anyone. They are independent in their decisions and showed it very clearly in 2009.

The only thing in the World one can compare to the IOC decision is a Conclave choosing a Pope. One can only guess before and there will be no much explanation after.

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Do you think if Tokyo was knocked out first, Chicago would have absorbed enough of their votes to make it past Madrid in the second round?

Madrid only gained three votes with the elimination of both Chicago and Tokyo. Tokyo lost two votes in the second round. New York lost three votes in the second round for 2012, so it isn't always a given that cities will increase their vote totals each round.

Don't mean to play the "what if" game, I am just curious to hear your thoughts.

I feel as if a Rio victory was always on the cards. I feel that if Tokyo was knocked out in Round 1 Chicago still might have struggled.

I could be wrong but based on 2012 and 2016 Madrid has a solid core of voters. I mean after a European win for 2012 it made the final for 2016.

I just don't think the lobbying element was strong enough with Chicago and the USOC issues did not help. It required lots of hard work.

London went through its fair share of tribulations during all phases of the bid, but it worked its butt off.

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It required lots of hard work. London when through its fair share of tribulations during all phases of the bid, but it worked its butt off.

Are you implying Chicago's bid team sat on their butts and demanded a fair shot? I think you may be confusing Cape Town 2020's attitude with Chicago 2016. I can personally attest to one hell of a lot of really focused, incredible intense work over MANY years by the bid team.

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Well if you're out in Round 1 you obviously did not lobby well enough, given that you are a superpower with personalities like Oprah and Obama present. Were there private meetings with Obama? Oprah? Michelle?

Nobody is suggesting Chicago was lazy at all.

What a stupid thing to say re Cape Town 2020....are you 5? Your comment was perfectly fine without the mini-tantrum.

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I think Chicago 2016 did the best they could for being new comers to the bidding process. They had insurmountable hurdles, but I wonder if they could have beaten out Madrid if Tokyo went first.

Certainly, Rio was clearly favored, but Madrid only picked up a few votes, even though 40 votes were freed up after Chicago and Tokyo were eliminated. It seemed as though Madrid was IOC members 1st choice, or no choice at all.

There were most certainly private meetings with Michelle Obama in the days before the vote. Oprah was there too, but I don't think she met with as many IOC members to discuss tangibles in the bid. Barack did not meet in private with any of the IOC members.

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I think Chicago 2016 did the best they could for being new comers to the bidding process. They had insurmountable hurdles, but I wonder if they could have beaten out Madrid if Tokyo went first.

Well, it seems quite apparent that Madrid could only count on at about 30 votes or so. All of Tokyo's votes went to Rio after they were out. So it seems logically that the Tokyo voters were keen on an Americas' Olympics once the Japanese capital was out.

So the debate/guessing game would be how those Tokyo voters would've been split between Chicago & Rio. So pundits, & even IOC members themselves, said that Chicago was Rio's biggest threat. And by eliminating that threat early on, Rio would've been in the driver's seat the remainder of the vote, which they were.

Anyway, read this article today. This thread seems like as good a place for it as any of the other threads on the issue.

http://www.laobserved.com/intell/2010/10/when_can_la_host_the_olympics.php

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FYI, you're right, about Chicago could be seen as a threaten by Rio bid team.

I have a "conspiracy theory" on it:

When we see the total number of votes, it seems that, Rio team could had asked some IOC members to vote for Tokyo in the first round, making sure Chicago would be ruled out early.

See the numbers:

Round 1

Madrd 28

Rio 26

Tokyo 22

Chicago 20

Round 2

Rio 46

Madrd 29

Tokyo 20

Curiously, Tokyo lose two votes from Round 1 to Round 2.

The voting in Round 2 was 5 minutes only after Round 1, so no time for lobbying.

Can my theory be true?

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Well if you're out in Round 1 you obviously did not lobby well enough

There is a very clear difference between "well enough" vs. "successfully". In hindsight, there is nothing that Chicago could have done to lobby successfully.

Nobody is suggesting Chicago was lazy at all.

Maybe English is not your first language, but it certainly reads like you were suggesting that.

What a stupid thing to say re Cape Town 2020....are you 5? Your comment was perfectly fine without the mini-tantrum.

I call it like I see it, and it's clear that a Cape Town 2020 bid is a shadow of what Cape Town 2004 was at the same stage. Regardless of one's opinion of the SASCOC and their so-called "process", Cape Town has been dropping hints indicating that 2020 may not be the right time for a bid, ignoring a SASCOC letter for a week or two, regardless of the fact that there wasn't a deadline, and then throwing a "mini-tantrum" when they get left behind. I'm using it to clearly illustrate the difference between a lazy city and a city like Chicago 2016.

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FYI, you're right, about Chicago could be seen as a threaten by Rio bid team.

I have a "conspiracy theory" on it:

When we see the total number of votes, it seems that, Rio team could had asked some IOC members to vote for Tokyo in the first round, making sure Chicago would be ruled out early.

See the numbers:

Round 1

Madrd 28

Rio 26

Tokyo 22

Chicago 20

Round 2

Rio 46

Madrd 29

Tokyo 20

Curiously, Tokyo lose two votes from Round 1 to Round 2.

The voting in Round 2 was 5 minutes only after Round 1, so no time for lobbying.

Can my theory be true?

Interesting, Danny.

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There is a very clear difference between "well enough" vs. "successfully". In hindsight, there is nothing that Chicago could have done to lobby successfully.

Maybe English is not your first language, but it certainly reads like you were suggesting that.

I call it like I see it, and it's clear that a Cape Town 2020 bid is a shadow of what Cape Town 2004 was at the same stage. Regardless of one's opinion of the SASCOC and their so-called "process", Cape Town has been dropping hints indicating that 2020 may not be the right time for a bid, ignoring a SASCOC letter for a week or two, regardless of the fact that there wasn't a deadline, and then throwing a "mini-tantrum" when they get left behind. I'm using it to clearly illustrate the difference between a lazy city and a city like Chicago 2016.

Ah. Here we go again

1. I don't think Chicago lobbied well enough and it certainly did not lobby successfully. 20 votes in Round 1? With Obama, wife and Oprah there? Have you read the Mike Lee book? Do you know what lobbying means? Yes, there were USOC issues but better lobbying would have meant getting beyond Round1.

2. English is not my first language? Seriously? Thats the best you can come up with?

3. There is no Cape Town 2020 bid, apart from CT perhaps maybe wanting to consider a bid.

As I've said above, your comment was fine up until the point you got your knickers into a twist because I suggested its lobbying was not effective or said something potentially negative about the failed Chicago 2016 bid.

If you have actually followed the 2016 bid you would notice that I followed almost all Chicago 2016 news, read the application file and candidature from start to finish as I would with any other bid, and in parts supported Chicago over Rio.

So once again, your comments are fine, scrap the tantrums and the "Cape Town 2020, let me reply with something snarky about the non-existent Cape Town 2020 bid because I'm still not over Chicago losing 2016, and cannot handle some criticism".

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Mo is right, Chicago 2016 did not lobby well enough. It was not even competitive in the first round against the others (as they received only 18 votes - not 20). NYC 2012 received 19 votes, and there were five cities competing, not four.

I don't necessarily fault representatives from the city of Chicago (they were new to this), but the USOC failed miserably lobbying the IOC, as their relationship has been sour and they lacked a good argument to bring the Games back to the U.S. Chicago 2016 didn't have the U.S. IOC members in prominent positions on the campaign either (e.g. Nuzman being Rio 2016 CEO).

The U.S. World Cup 2018/22 bid has been doing a much better job creating a compelling argument to return to the states. I am not saying they will win, but they seem to be doing better at this stage.

It's interesting how NYC lost three mystery votes in the second round as well. I think Tokyo's two votes lost were most likely "sympathy votes", as the first round was the most difficult round to get through, and I can't see a city advising IOC members to vote for someone else unless their level of trust was really solid.

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FYI, you're right, about Chicago could be seen as a threaten by Rio bid team.

I have a "conspiracy theory" on it:

When we see the total number of votes, it seems that, Rio team could had asked some IOC members to vote for Tokyo in the first round, making sure Chicago would be ruled out early.

See the numbers:

Round 1

Madrd 28

Rio 26

Tokyo 22

Chicago 20

Round 2

Rio 46

Madrd 29

Tokyo 20

Curiously, Tokyo lose two votes from Round 1 to Round 2.

The voting in Round 2 was 5 minutes only after Round 1, so no time for lobbying.

Can my theory be true?

I think the only thing we could make of this at the moment, is that Tokyo obviously was better at lobbying for sympathy votes than Chicago was for lobbying for actual votes.

I think the Japanese knew very well, especially towards the end, that they weren't getting it. And that they were going to try their darnest to try & save-face by not being booted 1st, & Rio perhaps knew or observed that & tried to take advantage of that scenario somehow.

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Wow...for the 900th time. I think Chicago and the USOC lobbied as hard as the others. It's NOT like the USOC is a first-time within IOC circles. It's just that...and Bob Cvrtlik let it slip...there were 2 or 3 "false" promised votes given to Chicago and that's where the rub was. Besides, what can you do when these people verbally commit their vote and do otherwise? Take them to court? No; you can't. After all the secrecy of the ballot box protects them. Those 2 or 3 were the crucial votes.

I still preferred the old system where you could buy votes. It was cleaner and more straightforward!!

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I think the Japanese knew very well, especially towards the end, that they weren't getting it. And that they were going to try their darnest to try & save-face by not being booted 1st, & Rio perhaps knew or observed that & tried to take advantage of that scenario somehow.

I think both theories are valid together (mine and FYI's). What do you guys think?

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Mo is right, Chicago 2016 did not lobby well enough...

I don't necessarily fault representatives from the city of Chicago (they were new to this), but the USOC failed miserably lobbying the IOC, as their relationship has been sour and they lacked a good argument to bring the Games back to the U.S.

Completely disagree. Again, Chicago's lobbying was first rate. The only "better" lobbying would have involved personal conversations with President Obama or buying votes. Both of those were against the ethical standards of the bid committee. So, let's not confuse success with with hardwork. I am immensely proud of the work done by the bid committee on all aspects of the bid (except for Pat Ryan's dreadful presentation), including lobbying. I am even prouder that this was likely the most ethical Olympic Bid ever to come out of the US.

From Rogge's comments in the thread on US TV rights, it is pretty clear that his view is there will be no Olympics in the US until the US coughs up more money for the IOC to spend.

until the point you got your knickers into a twist because I suggested its lobbying was not effective or said something potentially negative about the failed Chicago 2016 bid.

Mind laying off the ad-hominems?

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All bids go through their crises, but whereas the likes of Sydney and London acted quickly to address the ones that cropped their way, Chicago's just seemed to keep festering and prevent them building up any type of momentum. Daley giving the funding guarantees dragged on and on and fuelled the whole NoChicago brigade. The whole on-going saga of the USOC and the Olympic Network just got in the way of engaging the IOC and were a constant reminder of the issues the USOC and the IOC had over revenue sharing. And Obama should have committed to going to Copenhagen early and decisively - I mean he really had to go or inevitably take a lot of the fall and being accused of not supporting the bid enough if it didn't win. Instead, the final months of the Chicago campaign became a circus about Obama, and nothing about the qualities and messages of the bid and city itself. The team may have been working their butts off, but just kept struggling to get any momentum and messaging going with all the static drowning them out.

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Obama couldn't commit earlier because there was a very real possibility the Health Bill would be going through the Senate on the very same as the day of the vote. The Olympics are important, but not that important.

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Obama couldn't commit earlier because there was a very real possibility the Health Bill would be going through the Senate on the very same as the day of the vote. The Olympics are important, but not that important.

U're absolutely right, Rob. It was just strange coincidence that the charistmatic, newly elected U.S. president happened to be from the city in contention--thus the onus was even greater for home to bat for the home team!! And because the other heads of state were also showing up, there was no way but for him to go!!

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From Rogge's comments in the thread on US TV rights, it is pretty clear that his view is there will be no Olympics in the US until the US coughs up more money for the IOC to spend.

I really don't think there was widespread dissatisfaction on that issue. Chicago just:

1. Didn't have the bigger regional bloc to get past Round One; and

2. Was up against 2 very strong rivals, one of whom had a stanglehold on a 3rd of the votes. And the 2 cities colluded against a formidable bid.

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