Saturday, October 3, 2009

Danes explain why Obama failed


Don Surber’s column | October 3, 2009

It comes down to respect.

President Obama showed none.

And in the end, the Olympics committee returned the favor by humiliating the president of the United States, according to stories in the Berlingske Tidende newspaper in Copenhagen. The Google translations are a tad rough, but serviceable.

The front page headline read: “Rio vandt — Obama tabte” or “Rio won — Obama lost.”

That story began: “The world’s most powerful man traveled to Copenhagen to ensure the Olympics to Chicago in 2016. But sensational smoke Americans out in the first round, while the IOC members did hosting the Rio de Janeiro.”

Kai Holm, a former Olympics committee member, told the newspaper (translated): “The fact that Barack Obama came, could not do it. I think we lacked emotion, it seemed too empty and business-like. So when Tony Blair promoted London he was around three days to lobby and talk to people. You can not just come with the train one day and try to affect everything. People have felt that it was a lack of respect for the Olympics and sport in general. I think people felt it was too business-like to get into the way we have now seen it many times, and you would have feelings back.”

Hans Bonde, professor of sport history at the University of Copenhagen, told the newspaper: “Here come the more favor Obama just before the deadline and made showoff. He clearly won the battle in the media, but it turned out indeed to be indifferent. IOC members did not feel important, and they were indeed reduced to spectators and not players. So if he had come, he would have had time for a personal lubricant.”

OK, that last word likely is a poor substitute for what the guy said. (UPDATE: A reader said buttering up is likely what is meant.)

Obama was the first president to make such a plea. But Obama showed dumb diplomacy. He was ill-prepared and his staff failed to lay the foundation for his appearance. He came off as an ugly American who knew nothing about the territory and who felt the world somehow owed him something.

Lesson learned? I doubt it.

Meanwhile, Pele and President Lula of Brazil wept. They played the game right. They actually learned the rules and worked to earn it, rather than flying in and demanding it (please see my previous post).

If my pleasure in seeing Obama fail and Rio succeed makes me unpatriotic in the eyes of some balding hippies, so be it.

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