The American reaction to the news that the International Olympic Committee picked Rio de Janeiro instead of Chicago for the 2016 Olympic games demonstrates how we Americans think that it’s all about U.S. — er, us.
U.S.-centrism is so ingrained within us Americans that we can’t even see it. It’s like the water that engulfs fish: we never examine or question it, but just take it for granted.
These paragraphs from an Associated Press story demonstrates how blind to globalism Americans are:
Chicago’s early exit from finalist balloting represented a personal setback for [President Barack] Obama and a painful defeat for Chicago, America’s most prominent Midwestern city. The president put his personal prestige and political capital at risk when he decided late in the competition to go to Copenhagen and make a personal appeal.
In making his pitch, the president had said that a nation shaped by the people of the world “wants a chance to inspire it once more.” Never before had a U.S. president made such an in-person appeal, and Obama’s critics will doubtlessly see the vote as a sign of his political shortcomings.
Since when are the Olympics, an international affair, all about the United States of America or Chicago or Barack Obama?
We Americans act this provincially and then wonder why the rest of the world hates us.
I’m glad that Rio de Janeiro got the 2016 Olympics. It’s the first nation in South America that ever has been picked to host the quadrennial summer games.
“The United States has hosted four summer and four winter Olympics, more than any other nation,” notes Wikipedia, listing St. Louis (in 1904), Los Angeles (in 1932 and again in 1984) and Atlanta (in 1996) as the summer games hosted by the United States.
Second to the United States in the number of times of hosting the quadrennial summer games is London, which hosted in 1908 and 1948 and is to host again in 2012.
So the Olympics, which are supposed to be international, have been dominated by the American and British empires since the modern Olympics began in 1896 in Athens. (Even Athens, the birthplace of the Olympics, has hosted the quadrennail summer games only twice, in 1896 and in 2004.)
I don’t see the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro as a slam against Chicago or Barack Obama — or as some sign that the world doesn’t like Barack Obama, as the American wingnuts are asserting (it’s only “treason” when progressives oppose a wingnut in the White House, you see). I see it as an issue of fairness, a concept that eludes the wingnuts, and the awarding of the 2016 games to Rio is in line with what is supposed to be the international, global spirit of the Olympics.