"Blame it on Rio." Or "How I learned to stop worrying and love the Olympics for 72 hours."

Every story must begin with a relatable anecdote:  I worked at WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee for 5 years.  It is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers radio network.  This happened to be during Favre's glory years, so playoff appearances were pretty much a guarantee. 

Every year, fan expectations followed a predictable pattern.  They were cautiously optimistic on Monday morning.   "We're facing a formidable opponent, we shouldn't take (team) for granted," they would say.  By Friday, they were yelling "SUPER BOWL!!! TITLETOWN!!!! LOMBARDI!!!! WOOOOOO!!!"  The Packers would then lose on Sunday, and the same people who were cautiously optimistic just seven days before came into work looking like their dog died. 

Which brings us to Friday.  


The Picasso wore a "medal."  Turns out it said "participant" on the other side.  I heard there were 20 thousand people in Daley Plaza for the Olympic announcement. 


I'm willing to bet most of them were ambivalent about the Olympic bid...until the hype machine cranked up this week.  

It wasn't too hard to get caught up in the craziness.  Every news story leading up to the Friday's IOC meeting was a sign Chicago had it in the bag. 

Oprah was going to Copenhagen!  Obama was going to give a speech!  The national media will be here to cover the announcement!


Even Charlie Gibson was flying to Chicago to anchor ABC's World News.  They must have some inside info!



The rally itself was a combination of screaming Olympians and a halfway-decent cover band.  Swimmer Rowdy Gaines was the master of ceremonies.  Scottie Pippen pumped up the crowd.  The lead singer of the cover band flawlessly copied the vocal styles of Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Robert Plant.  Cubs fans brought their "It's Gonna Happen!" signs.  Ronnie Woo Woo got kicked out of the press area.

The IOC opened the vote at 10:12.  It began with each bid city getting assigned a random number.  Chicago got 4, and everyone cheered.  The vote closed five minutes later.  IOC President Jacque Rogge then said Chicago got the fewest votes, and was out.  The four year effort to land the 2016 games was over in two seconds.  People at Daley Plaza had no idea what to do next.  

I had to do a live shot on WGN, and it wasn't that good.  I had no clue what to say.  I had to resist the temptation to say "we gone!"

The people who brought the "It's Gonna Happen!" signs took markers and wrote in "It's NOT Gonna Happen!"  The signs remained pristine through TWO consecutive playoff three and outs, but the fans break out the markers for a failed Olympic bid?

I didn't see anyone crying.  Most said "screw it" and went back to work.  Those who did stick around cheered when the IOC picked Rio.  Classy. 

Rio's Olympic rally was a huge event on Copacabana beach.  Made the Daley Plaza rally look like the dog and pony show it really was.

In the end, I got to interview Scottie Pippen (asked him if the IOC members' memories of the original Dream Team could help the Chicago bid), and I have another credential to add to my hall of failure:



There will be a lot of blame to go around in the coming days and weeks.  I think it's unfair to pin this on Obama.  Daley, of course, will have to wear it. 

I, on the other hand, blame Mark Buehrle.  We haven't been awarded a single Olympics since his perfect game.

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