Brad Thatcher, left, of Thatcher Co. in New York, poses for a photo along with United States Sports Academy President and CEO, Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Brazilian journalist Mario Viana, and Peter Tichansky, the President of the Business Council for International Understanding.

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Sports Academy, presented at the second annual World Cultural and Economic Forum (WCEF) in New Orleans on 29 October on the successful Brazilian bid to win the 2016 Rio Olympiad.

The World Cultural and Economic Forum (WCEF) is an initiative of Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitchell J. Landrieu. Its purpose is to bring together people from throughout the world to discuss both culture and economy. The largest delegation of attendees came primarily from South America and the Caribbean, including a large delegation which came from Brazil.

Dr. Rosandich addressed the continuous sports media coverage which indicated the various reasons that Chicago lost the bid for the 2016 Games. This reasoning was perpetuated by many American publications, including ‘Inside-the-Rings,’ a daily Olympic publication that carried a ballot continuously indicating:

  1. First, that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) was responsible for the lost bid.
  2. Second, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was responsible for the lost bid.
  3. In the third instance the blame was placed squarely on the shoulders of President Barack Obama.
  4. Finally, the Chicago bid itself was faulted.

Clearly none of this was true as Rio flat out won the bid for all of the right reasons. In fact, it was rather clear that Rio had this bid in their pockets long before the bid presentations took place in Copenhagen. Rio won simply because Brazil worked on this bid methodically for nearly two decades led by Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee.

During his speech, Dr. Rosandich announced that President Nuzman was the new recipient of the Academy’s prestigious Eagle Award, which is given annually to an individual who demonstrates outstanding leadership in international sport. Mr. Nuzman was a great Brazilian Olympic volleyball player in his own right, as well as a great coach, a successful businessman and indeed the leader of the Brazilian bid. Mr. Nuzman brought that nation not only the last Pan American Games, which they successfully hosted, but more recently the World Cup, which for Brazilians may be even more important than the 2016 Rio Olympiad. Football is clearly Brazil’s No. 1 sport as they have won the world championship many times.

Dr. Rosandich pointed out that he had not been to an international meeting of any importance in more than a decade where he had not seen President Nuzman selling the Brazilian Olympiad. Dr. Rosandich addressed outside criticism, stating first that the USOC has had an ongoing battle with the IOC since before the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 over sponsorship and television revenues where the USOC had the lion’s share of the money. Dr. Rosandich stated that he honestly believes that the USOC contract was unfair to the other 200 nations that make up the Olympic family; it was simply all about money.

Secondly, it is natural to blame the IOC. That is once again wrong. There is no question that the very able President of the IOC, Mr. Jacques Rogge, wanted to see the games go to South America for the first time. It was long overdue, if in fact the Olympic Games are to be a true world sport movement, then South America was a must. This of course will be a part of President Rogge’s legacy. Hopefully, Africa will get the 2020 Olympiad.

Concurrently, President Barack Obama placed third in the ballot, blamed for losing the Chicago bid, which was obviously nonsense. Dr. Rosandich pointed out that President Obama might have had the wrong information on the Chicago bid possibilities going into Copenhagen. Many Americans thought that losing in the first round was a slap in his face. However, Dr. Rosandich believes that President Obama’s appearance on behalf of the United States was an important statement to the world that Americans do care about the Olympic Games. This was indeed the first time that an American President actively participated in the Olympic bid, which is something that is common to all other nations. This can and will serve America well in the future, whether American cities choose to bid or not. The estimated cost of the Chicago bid was fifty million dollars, whereas the hosting of the Brazilian Olympiad is estimated to be more than fifteen billion dollars.

Those who felt that the Chicago bid was poor should know that nothing is further from the truth. It was an excellent bid, as were the bids by Tokyo and Madrid.

Simply, Brazil effectively and methodically worked on this bid and they won it, once again, for all of the right reasons. Dr. Rosandich explained that many Americans know little about foreign cultures, particularly that of South America. Many people don’t realize that Brazil is among the top ten economies in the world or that their national language is Portuguese and not Spanish. Many people don’t know that San Paulo is the fourth largest city in the world ahead of New York and that Rio de Janeiro is ranked nineteenth ahead of Chicago, London, Moscow and Paris. Also, Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan.

Dr. Rosandich pointed out that he traveled to Brazil many times, including traveling down the mighty Amazon River, which pours more water into oceans than any other river in the world. Rio de Janeiro is in fact one of the most beautiful cities in the world with beaches second to none.

Brazil must plan to build many new sports facilities, particularly golf courses, as there are only two golf courses in Brazil and neither are regulation. Dr. Rosandich noted that Rio will host Olympic golf and rugby, both of which are returning to the Olympics for the first time since the early 1900s.

Dr. Rosandich went on to point out that every Olympiad since Barcelona has actually rebuilt the infrastructure of the host city. In Barcelona they turned the slum factory district into residential housing and the polluted Mediterranean into an incredible tourist area as they prepared for the events of the Summer Games. On the same token, in Athens, one of the most congested and impossible cities to drive into, they turned Europe’s smallest airport into one of the best international airports in the world, along with great sport facilities. There is not enough that one can say about the Chinese sport complex, including the incredible Beijing stadium called the “Bird’s Nest.”

Dr. Rosandich concluded that the 2016 Rio Olympiad should be second to none and it will be the pride of South America. All of the nations of the world won with this Olympic bid, including Chicago.