2016 Olympic tourism and Toronto bid, Nachos with Mai Tais, Jim's Deal of Day
With Rio De Janeiro winning the 2016 Olympic bid, look for a major, major tourism boost to the fabled South American city.
Don't forget they've got the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, so this will be a double dose of visitors; assuming they can pull everything off. It's a huge undertaking, but presumably a lot of the infrastructure needed for 2014's football extravaganza will make things easier for the Olympics two years later. Certainly, I can't recall any other city that's had two enormous undertakings like that within a two-year period, so it's gonna be plenty interesting.
I wasn't surprised to see Chicago lose. The IOC is notoriously unpredictable, and the bloc voting often results in early-round shockers. Cities that have won bids have often come perilously close to losing in early voting due to IOC shenanigans.
And I fully expected Madrid to give a strong performance as former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, a Spaniard, still wields enormous clout in the IOC and was pushing hard for the Spanish capital.
I know the IOC hates the US Olympic Committee and it's alleged arrogance, but I didn't expect Chicago to take it on the chin in the first round. Second perhaps. Third, maybe. But not right out of the gate.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the IOC go back to Europe for the 2020 Summer Olympics. If they did, or if they opted for Asia again, there would be a good chance for a North American bid for the 2024 Summer Games. And that COULD open the door to, dare I say it, another Toronto bid.
We didn't so well against Atlanta for the 1996 Games or Beijing for 2008, but the bids were technically very good. And if Toronto wins the 2015 Pan Am Games in a vote slated for next month, the city will ha've addressed a gaping hole in its sporting resume and would look better to the IOC for 2024. The fact we're not American and not part of the USOC might still be a huge factor in Toronto's favour, and the 2024 vote will take place in 2017, a full seven years after the Vancouver Winter Games.
Nobody can predict what the IOC will do. But stranger things have happened, and there's no doubt some folks in the Big Smoke already are thinking of a future Toronto summer bid, part three.
Guess this means I'll have to make a trip to Rio next year to see how things look down there, too! Reports say there were already 50,000 folks partying on the beach and that another 50,000 were expected on a bright, sunny day in Brazil.
On a side note regarding Chicago, AP had a great quote from chatty IOC member Kevan Gosper of Australia.
"I'm shocked," Gosper said. "The whole thing doesn't make sense other than there has been a stupid bloc vote."
Gosper said the Chicago exit could do "untold damage" to the rocky relations between the USOC and the IOC, who have fought over revenue sharing and a proposed USOC TV network.
"To have the president of the United States and his wife personally appear, then this should happen in the first round is awful and totally undeserving," Gosper said.
WEIRD FOOD AND DRINKS
Speaking of the Olympics, I got a press release from the Four Seasons in Whistler today to say they've come up with a cocktail called the Eternal Flame, with pear juice, an energy drink and lemongrass-infused vodka. So where's the flame? Apparently they put a brown sugar cube on top, perched on an inverted cocktail shaker lid. It's soaked in absinthe and set on fire, naturally. It's also served in a tall, "copper-hued glass flute and presented in a passing-of-the-torch" relay fasion.
Sounds like fun. I bet six or eight of those would really knock you out.
On a related note, I got another press release from the Renaissance Chicago Hotel (they won't be serving anything except an Olympic flame-out for a while, I guess, ba-dum-shh) explaining how their melted cheese nachos with smoked prime rib are a big hit, and I guess they would be. I'd be happy to try, but they suggested matching the nachos with a Mai Tai made with Appleton White Rum, Don Q Limon, Cointreau and Orgeat, and I can't even begin to imagine a fruity mai tai with spicy nachos.
Still, next time I'm in Chicago I'll stop by. I'll do almost ANYTHING for a good story.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY
Prices are falling at