Obama has changed his mind and will travel to Copenhagen this Friday to deliver a personal appeal to the IOC on behalf of the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. My friend George Hirthler (one of the very best sports marketers today) who is working hard on this bid thinks this decision may well break the tape for Chicago. Many other people think Obama's decision significantly increases Chicago's chances of winning the games. Many an IOC member has been swayed by the passionate voice of a city advocate. An Olympic win would be a bright and piercing bit of positive news in America this autumn.
Rio in my mind has the strongest bid. Never before has the Olympics been held in South America. Never before has Rio had such a strong proposal for how they would hold the games, and never before have they had the kind of experience they've mustered over the past few years, having held numerous international sporting events such as the pan-American games in 2007.
A few years back, I was the Creative Director for the 2004 Stockholm Olympic Bid, and Rio was one of the contenders. The Rio bid was very good, though the city remained risky and unproven. The bid process is an enduring multi-year marathon, with an unending list of marketing communications and elements that must be developed and honed, produced and disseminated. Much of the work we did hangs in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Stockholm Bid film I responsible for:
I worked on the Stockholm 2004 bid with George too. He did much of the writing in the bid books, with a steely resolve and an incredible natural lexicon of Olympic vernacular. But getting back to Rio for a moment, back then it faced a number of problems, many of which have been overcome by a dynamic city that is world class. Today, Brazil is a country on the rise, one of the world's fastest growing economies, Brazilian sport players have inspired people around the planet, and Rio is majestic, fragrant and safe.
It's down to the wire and it's mighty exciting. Both cities would be terrific Olympic venues. The breath-taking Chicago coastline along Lake Michigan, one of North America's five Great Lakes and the grand beaches of Rio would be equally inspiring and soothing to the soul during a hot summer games. Here is the official site of the Chicago bid and here is the official site of the Rio bid.
I'm holding my breath. Peralta the CEO StrawberryFrog Brazil was in New York last week and we were debating the two bids. We talked about how incredible the games would be in Rio and I told him about the beauty of Chicago. In the end after hours of discussions, we agreed that whichever way the IOC went, we would meet up at these games for a celebration. The only difference between the finalists, we agreed, other than Obama's decision to attend the final IOC meeting, is a growing movement of Chicago's citizens wanting the games to go to Rio: Chicagoans for Rio 2016 vs an unprecedented 85 percent of Rio's citizens standing behind the bid. Strange twist of logic but an added element in the nail biting finish.