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Rio 2016: Too Pricey? Or Too Honest?

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Feb 17, 2009 7:20PM

rio2016logo21709.jpg We'll be honest - we don't know much about the intricacies of Brazilian government. It could be that they're as shady and dishonest as the government we've become used to in Illinois. But we're going to assume that they're unlike us in one striking regard - they're telling the truth about the budget for their Olympic bid. Why? Because it's really, really bleeding expensive.

In this story from ABC7 via the AP, Rio's budget for the 2016 games has a pricetag of $14.4 billion - a figure that's dramatically pricier than Chicago's bid of $4.8 billion, or the bids of Tokyo or Madrid which are similar. However, that huge number includes the for-sure, no messing around promise that this is what's gonna be, no more, we promise. (For sake of comparison, London's bid was way lower than what they're now expecting to spend in 2012.)

The striking thing about this story, in our eyes, is that Rio's planning on spending 3 times as much as we are and they've already got a tremendous amount of infrastructure and venue space on hand. Their plan is to use the existing stadiums and competition space constructed for the 2007 Pan Am games, and supplement it with temporary construction. A full 74% is already there.

What's more likely - that Rio is highballing it in the hopes that their bid is seen as honest and realistic? That Rio is packing the budget with cash that will, in a more Chicago kind of way, "fall off the back of a truck?" Or that a $14.4B price tag really is the honest-to-deus truth, and the rest of us are all just kidding ourselves when it comes to what we're going to really pay to be on the world's stage for a couple weeks?

One thing we do know: Hands off our President.

"In this Olympic race, Rio is Obama," [Rio 2016's secretary general Carlos Roberto] Osorio said. "We are saying, 'Yes we can.' We are talking about change, about hope. Rio can rejuvenate the games."

Look, Rio - if anyone is gonna try to reappropriate the Obama magic for their Olympic bid, it's gonna be us. Although if you'd like to pony up some cash for his support, it'll only cost you...say...$4.8 billion? Let us know - we know something about paying government officials for support on issues around here.