Thursday, December 2, 2010

World Sports Community (Again) Shows They Don't Need the United States

Earlier this year, the United States bid for the 2016 Olympic Games ... Chicago ... was beaten by Rio de Janeiro. That will be the first Games held in South America.

Today, the United States bid for the 2022 World Cup was beaten by Qatar ... the smallest country to every host the Cup. Ask most Americans and they have no idea where Qatar is.

In one year, the international sports community has basically said they don't need the USA like they used to.

Yeah, there are other factors out there. The fact that Rio would be the first Games in South America was a big selling point. Qatar is an oil rich nation and would place the World Cup in the part of the planet where events like this are rarely held. The USA has lost these things before and just did again.

What also is a factor is the fact that we're not that good at hosting these things. Sure, the 1994 World Cup was a success here ... even if the game hasn't caught the fire people predicted it would. But the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta was marred by a terrorist attack and an overkill of corporate powers that left a bad taste in the IOC's mouth. Then the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City is best known for the gift-giving scandal that caused the IOC to overhaul its rules. We haven't done it correctly.

In the past, that didn't matter. The international sports community needed the United States so much that they looked past all these kinds of things. They point to the 1984 Games in Los Angeles which showed the world that the games (after sucking the last several cities dry) that a city can thrive because of the Olympics. That momentum continued in Seoul and Barcelona and allowed the United States to quickly get the games back just 12 years later.

The world knew that the corporate dollars would pour in. The world knew that the USA would make it quite a production. The world knew that many eyes would be watching the games and the USA is very "foreigner friendly" so fans from other nations would feel at home.

That isn't the case anymore. Our standing in the world has fallen a bit ... not to mention our likeability. The massive corporate dollars aren't there anymore -- at least not as much to sway an event here. And while we may be more "foreigner friendly" than anywhere else, things have changed where bringing an event like that would be a logistical nightmare in our New America.

Those things are true everywhere, however, so it is interesting why the USA keeps getting passed over. Maybe we've overstayed our welcome on the world stage. Maybe we need to prove that we are worthy of the Games and Cup ... instead of trying to say they are worthy of being here.

No comments: