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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the otherwise-the-terrists-win dept.

Privacy 1040

An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics (which went to Rio de Janeiro instead), and it's looking very likely that US border procedures were one of the main factors which knocked Chicago out of the race: 'Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago's official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be "a rather harrowing experience." ... The exchange underscores what tourism officials here have been saying for years about the sometimes rigorous entry process for foreigners, which they see as a deterrent to tourism.'"

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1040 comments

I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626103)

Everyone I know who visits the USA these days tells me what a pain in the ass it is to travel here now. I'm sure everyone on the IOC knows all about that.

-jcr

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626177)

We once took pride in saying we were a melting pot of nations (racism aside). Now we're about the same, except we're a melting pot of xenophobes (maybe not at the citizen level, but definitely at the administrative/political level.

Sad to see the great American nation turn from something I was once very proud of to one that I've considered, quite a few times, to up and leave.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Insightful)

Ambient Sheep (458624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626215)

It doesn't surprise me. I'm from the UK, and "Visiting the US" was always one of those things on my life's "to-do" list - seeing New York, going to the West Coast, visiting friends in Washington state, maybe even driving Route 66 one day if I had money enough and time.

But now? Well, I've heard enough horror stories by now from friends and colleagues about entering the USA that, despite me having no criminal convictions whatsoever, I'm afraid it ain't on my "to-do" list any more.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626321)


And let me tell you, if people from the UK are telling you that your border-control is unwelcoming, then it must be! I also live in the UK. You can bounce around Europe crossing borders with little more than a wave of your passport and a friendly nod. Then when you come back to the UK, it's a bit of a shock. Most of the EU find Britain rather silly with how worked up about its borders it gets, given that the rest of it manages with less pomp *and* has direct land passage to outside countries. I've also heard some strong complaints from people I know about entering the US. Aren't they asking for retinal scans or fingerprints in some places, now?

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Interesting)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626447)

entering the US. Aren't they asking for retinal scans or fingerprints in some places, now?

no. not some places. Every entry point takes fingerprints of every visitor who is not a US Citizen or legal US Resident.

There is also some pain in the ass procedure that people have to do online. 24 hours before they get on the plane.

The US has just totally lost it both on the entry procedures AND airport security. The only place where the airport security is more of a useless pain in the ass is the UK, but it is a close race. The UK and the US seem to be competing with each other on who can make the most worthless security procedures.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (0, Troll)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626451)

It seems only fair that if it's so difficult to get in, it should be just as difficult to get out! Just say no to USAnians travelling around the rest of the world!

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (4, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626473)

Do you any pattern here? UK and the US. Two countries with stupidest border security checks at the ports. Both leading "war" against terrorism.

Looks to me that the "war" is already won - by the terrorists.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626499)

Or, you could say the two western nations that have lost the most civilians to terrorism in recent history (Israel excepted)

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626581)

Israeli border crossings are a bit of a pain too...without a doubt.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (2, Informative)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626587)

If we take facts into account, I think you are wrong. (Hint - spain)

And in no way I am in favor if killing a single human, but I think whatever happened was reciprocation (right or wrong, I am not in favor of any) of certain foreign policies of certain western nations. Nobody is innocent here.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626261)

This European long ago decided to stay the hell out of xenophobia central, only to find that our beloved MEPs followed its lead and demands and did a good copycat of the whole security theatre, and thorougly exceeding in roll-out of mandatory RFIDed passports (without tin-foil to boot) with fingerprints and so on. Oh, and all that talk about "data sharing"? It's one-way, all the way, baby.

If Europe had a spine they'd've "reciproced" (see the relevant department of state website) the whole encilada across the entire EU, but instead they thought it a good idea. We're still thorougly protected against rogue nail clippers and exploding bottles of water. Useful, that.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Funny)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626399)

We once took pride in saying we were a melting pot of nations (racism aside).

Yeah, but that was before we realized that the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free might take our jobs!

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (3, Insightful)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626479)

We once took pride in saying we were a melting pot of nations (racism aside).

I've always preferred the image of a multicultural tapestry. Better a colorful display of individual threads than a gray, undifferentiated mass.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626483)

We once took pride in saying we were a melting pot of nations (racism aside). Now we're about the same, except we're a melting pot of xenophobes (maybe not at the citizen level, but definitely at the administrative/political level.

That's before crazy fuckers decided it was a great idea to try to blow us up. Not wanting to get blown the fuck up is not the same as xenophobia.

"The most ridiculous interview..." (5, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626303)

"The most ridiculous interview I heard with my own ears:
  Interviewer: "What did you have this morning as breakfast?"
  Applicant: "Bread." I: "Nothing else?"
  Applicant: "No."
  Interviewer: "According to American law, we cannot grant you a visa."
  Applicant: "....".

I was sitting beside the person when he was rejected. You know, it is funny to reject someone according American law just because he only had bread in the morning."

From http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20060519_getting_us_visa_in_china.htm [wangjianshuo.com]

Re:"The most ridiculous interview..." (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626391)

I am a greencard holder, and this is how it went at the Newark airport on my return after a long break I took to visit my family in India:

The Lady in Uniform: How long were you there?
me: About 3 months.
TLIU: Why 3 months? That's too long.
me: Because I had not visited my family for a while and I needed a break.
TLIU:What were you doing there?
me: Being with family, visiting friends, seeing places.
TLIU: But 3 month is a long time for that.
me: Er..

It went on for 2 more minutes like this. I have no idea what she was trying to do there. I mean, which law I might have breaking for taking three months off work?

Re:"The most ridiculous interview..." (5, Funny)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626443)

I mean, which law I might have breaking for taking three months off work?

Guilty of having more holidays than her?

Re:"The most ridiculous interview..." (4, Funny)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626465)

Sorry. The correct answer was Bacon. Remember that for next time. Bacon.

Re:"The most ridiculous interview..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626559)

Maybe they scanned his stomach and knew he was lying.

Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (5, Interesting)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626365)

Everyone I know who visits the USA these days tells me what a pain in the ass it is to travel here now. I'm sure everyone on the IOC knows all about that.

-jcr

I flew 8 hours from London to Dallas this year. On arrival, I then waited 2 hours at the airport, along with about 300 other aliens, while sullen border guards slowly checked passports, took photos and fingerprints (this often took several attempts per person), and asked seemingly innocent questions in slow, menacing voices. If I didn't know better, I would have thought they'd been trained in military interrogation techniques.

No. (1)

TheNormal (1499911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626113)

That's not the reason. They knew if they had it in Chicago it would become "Obama's Event" and Zogby has international approval for Obama at 45% and falling. Passports are nothing compared to the process of setting up an entire Olympics event.

Re:No. (3, Funny)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626217)

That's just retarded. Odds are about even he won't even be president in 2016.

Re:No. (1)

TheNormal (1499911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626231)

... Right. Because of his falling polls. That doesn't mean the man has come down to earth.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626517)

Meanwhile, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his left-of-center administration's popularity is still at an all-time high, sitting at a euphoric 77%!

Those damn Brazilians don't have anything better to do than to go to wild beach parties, attend Rod Stewart concerts [wikipedia.org] , and vote in public opinion polls for leftist politicians.

Re:No. (5, Interesting)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626523)

This thread seems to nicely demonstrate the national arrogance..

Could it possibly be that Rio won rather than the USA losing it?

After all, it's not like you deserved it at all. Invading lots of countries to do who-knows-what isn't consistent with the spirit of international harmony spread by the Olympics.

Feel free to mod me troll for telling it like it is :D

I'd *love* to be a tourist in the States (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626125)

...but you ain't gettin' my fingerprints for the privilege. What am I, a criminal?
Reform your system, and you'll see an increase in tourism, with all the good that that does your economy.

Re:I'd *love* to be a tourist in the States (2, Interesting)

Col. Bloodnok (825749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626491)

I won't be going anywhere. I refuse to let my government have my fingerprints, in order to renew my passport.

I'll just stay in dear old blighty.

Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626141)

Increasing crime rates, including murder, why were we bidding Chicago in the first place? There are plenty of other US cities that are more worthy of this honor.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626227)

US Visa process is most humiliating experience I had in my life. Am an Indian and tried to get visiting visa for a week
from India.
American citizen should see this process, they will not tolerate it from any other country.

I've traveled to few other countries.

We're America (-1, Troll)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626383)

We can do any damned thing we want.

Re:We're America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626505)

If you'd finished your post with "for now".

You might have god modded insightful :)

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (5, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626239)

Rio has pretty high crime, too, you know, and slums. I doubt Chicago's worse.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626481)

Yes, but then Rio has Carnival as well as not being hampered by a prudish and Puritan culture.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (4, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626241)

Because it would be an excuse to move 'undesirables' out of the city in large numbers, make a spike in capital spending and construction, and then cause the city and its environs to implode when the Olympic venues turn out to be unrentable and the tourists vanish again?

Hosting the Olympics might be an honour on the national level, but locally... you've got to figure out which city you can afford to disrupt over the long term.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626257)

I doubt that Chicago has more crime than Rio. I think the "Americans act like assholes to foreigners and everyone knows it" explanation has a ring of plausibility to it. I would also add that recent events probably raised some doubts about the economic viability of the USA by 2016.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626281)

Yeah right. Have you ever been to Chicago? I have lived in different parts of Chicago for last 10 years. This city is no different than any other US city. Just because some murder made national news and changed your perception, does not mean the city does not deserve Olympics.

What safe city are you from? LA?

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626355)

Doesn't Obama come from Chicago? So it was raised as the ideal city to host the Olympics for the same reason Cherie Blair's Liverpool was nominated for European City of Culture.

Nominate a city based solely on its merits with today's politicians? hahahahahahaa.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626603)

Chicago was trying for it before Obama was elected.

http://www.chicago2016.org/our-plan/overview.aspx

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626605)

Chicago put it's name in the hat LONG before Obama was even running for the presidential office...possibly back when he was a state level representative.

Re:Chicago lost it because it didn't deserve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626423)

Increasing crime rates? You've gotta be kidding me. There was a brutal beating that made the news, yes. But the thing is, and this is different from how things work in Rio, it made the news.

I'm not looking forward to going to the US (5, Interesting)

rundgren (550942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626151)

I'm a peaceful Norwegian with two (many years ago) convictions for possession of small amounts (1-2 joints) of marihuana. My grandmother wants to take me to visit our family in Boston next year, and I'm not looking forward to it at all because of one thing only: US border control and visa stupidity. The US is the only country in the world to care about a stupid posession misdemeanor - I could go anywhere else without issue at all..

Re:I'm not looking forward to going to the US (2)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626251)

Agreed. I must say that, as a UK resident, this was the first thing that I thought of. I am planning a round the world trip next year and hesitate to include the US as the hassle is probably not worth it. Also there are all kinds of strange rules like you cannot include a stop in Cuba if your round the world ticket includes an American airline. Getting into the US is a harrowing experience. It is more than immigration's fault: Airports are treated as a war zone, and going through security to get your connection is definitely not the first and last experience you want to give a foreigner visiting the US.

Re:I'm not looking forward to going to the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626275)

Canada might even be worse for prior convictions (and arrests if you're from the US).

Re:I'm not looking forward to going to the US (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626361)

I'm fairly certain you can get a quick answer at the US embassy in Oslo just by calling them.

The one thing you DON'T want to do on the paper work, is to omit that you have these convictions.

And yes, it's quite stupid. Not just that the US cares, but also that it's illegal - but that's a different discussion altogether.

Re:I'm not looking forward to going to the US (5, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626381)

The US is the only country in the world to care about a stupid posession misdemeanor - I could go anywhere else without issue at all..

And yet Canada won't let Americans in who have a DUI (also a misdemeanor here in MN at least and no, I've never had a DUI). I don't agree with the border policies in place in the US but I also don't think your comment is as insightful as others believe it to be either.

Re:I'm not looking forward to going to the US (4, Informative)

badger.foo (447981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626489)

Even without any sort of criminal record it's not a pleasant experience to enter the US, even as a Norwegian citizen entering via Canada. This May the robots routed me back form BSDCan [bsdcan.org] (in Ottawa) through Washington, DC. It's possible that the fact that I did not apply for a visa (this was transit only, planning to stay on the ground roughly one hour between flights) complicated things a bit. As it turned out, in addition to the ordinary three forms (with more or less the same info in all of them) I needed to fill in a separate 'visa waiver form' (identical to at least two of the other forms in all other things than paper thickness, sheet size, color of paper and print and font) before getting to the fingerprinting, retina scanning and oral examination to check the validity of the information that I'd filled in, performed by a border guard who seemed to have been trained to appear hostile but was obviously monumentally bored by the whole process. This was after clearing the ordinary pre-boarding security theatre, mind you. And of course I would need to pick up the boarding passes for my connecting flights at the Washington, DC airport. That meant getting from one end of the airport to the other to pick up boarding passes and clearing another full act of security theatre in order to get back to where I could board the transatlantic flight. I did make my connecting fligh, running pretty much all the way except for the time spent lining up for the various security checks on the way. So yes, I can believe in a theory that US border control was a factor in deciding to place the next Olympics elsewhere.

Re:I'm not looking forward to going to the US (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626563)

Serves you right frankly
You chose to commit the crime, face the consequences.
God I hate people who take drugs then pretend there is nothing wrong with it, you should be in prison

UI Border controls aimed at stopping tourism (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626155)

I thought that was the whole point.

What's that? They're for stopping TERRORISM, you say? Naaaaah, can't be.

(I once went one a round-the-world holiday. At Fiji's passport control, they gave us garlands, and serenaded us with guitars; at US passport control they growled at us.)

I'm sorry, is that surprising how? (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626183)

I've read it years ago that the USA is losing billions per year in tourism after the 9/11 border restrictions.

The Olympics became a disgustingly commercial event for the past few decades and corporations are going to put pressure towards a location where prospective visitors aren't put off by over the top security measures...

The next time someone asks what's the harm in the security theatre, point them towards the loss of tourism. I have to say I'm one of those people who deeply resent the invasive fingerprint taking entrance to the USA. It's a shame that stupid border procedures prevent me from visiting an otherwise beautiful country...

Re:I'm sorry, is that surprising how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626315)

same point with tokyo losing too... who wants to be finger printed to get in the country.

Re:I'm sorry, is that surprising how? (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626363)

I've read it years ago that the USA is losing billions per year in tourism after the 9/11 border restrictions.

that and the hosting city of the games loses billions paying for the advertisement, police, etc. and when they end they are in the hole a few billion that has to come from somewhere.

Border Control only? (5, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626197)

Well it could also be because a Rio olympics would be really awesome. I don't think Chicago could compete on atmosphere with Rio.

Re:Border Control only? (5, Insightful)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626233)

And the fact that South America never held the Olympics before.

Re:Border Control only? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626477)

I thought as much, but couldn't remember for sure.

Re:Border Control only? (4, Insightful)

adamkennedy (121032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626271)

Indeed, not to mention the rise of Brazil in the world in general (much like China before it) and the chance to finally have one in South America now there's a country competent enough to make it work. Plus the better weather, plus it's cheaper to go to, plus you don't need crazy-priced "Platinum (US Only)" grade medical and lawsuit travel insurance, plus how awesome a Brazillian opening and closing ceremony will be, plus America has had it relatively recently, and on and on.

Re:Border Control only? (4, Funny)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626459)

how awesome a Brazillian opening and closing ceremony will be,

Rest of the world would never know about it - because it would be rated 18+/21+ and would never be aired.

Re:Border Control only? (4, Informative)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626565)

Unlike China, Brazil actually has a thriving world class aeronautical industry [embraer.com] . I see in the business press how the Boeing and Airbus needs to watch out for the Chinese and I think , "Chinese?! The Brazilians are well on their way."

Although Brazil has quite a few social problems, they're well on their way to getting their shit to together and I'm thinking in the not too distant future, they'll be a very large power house in the World Economy. I may start taking Portuguese!

Re:Border Control only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626273)

Yeah they're really friendly [eturbonews.com] toward tourists in Rio.

Personal Example (5, Interesting)

inicom (81356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626211)

I can give you a personal example of this - my father is a 76-year old western european citizen, and has been to the US easily a hundred times and was a US resident for over a decade. And as a merchant, he's spent easily many hundred of thousands on goods in the US over the past 40 years. Last Christmas, he came over to see us, and at the local International Airport he was pulled aside, patted down, his baggage and items gone over in detail, and interrogated for 20 minutes. Why? No reason given. As a result, he doesn't want to come to the US at all any more, so we have to go visit in Europe or rendezvous in another 3rd country. Yea, I know, we get to go to Europe more often, but it's a lot more expensive & difficult to coordinate schedules and take the family than to have one person travel here.

I spent a lot of last year overseas on projects - and I heard over and over again from people that no longer think it's worth it to come to the US for shows/conferences/travel because of the travel restrictions and attitude toward non-US citizens by customs and immigration.

Re:Personal Example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626329)

That could happen anywhere. I was once travelling alone to visit a friend in Trondheim, Norway from Denmark. I was forced into a small claustrophic interrogation chamber and strip butt naked for no reason at all :( On top of that the airways lost my baggage irreversibly,

Re:Personal Example (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626339)

That's not necessarily a unique situation due to him being a "foreigner", though. American citizens are subjected to exactly that kind of treatment (and then some) on a random basis even on domestic travel.

Re:Personal Example (0, Troll)

gte275e (91656) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626373)

No reason at all? Did he have a beard?

more likely reason: (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626237)

More likely, part of the reason Chi. lost the Olymipic bid had something to do with an honor's student getting hit on the side of the head with a railroad tie (as captured and shown on CNN and youtube [youtube.com] .

There are people out of control in Chicago right now and I have to say I can't blame the IOC for not wanting to go there. Along with the traffic issues and overwhelming government corruption there are too many problems for Chicago to have an Olympics in the near future.

I don't blame them (2, Insightful)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626243)

The amount of man-handling and smug stares I have to endure from thick-necked, multi-chinned police academy rejects is bad enough when flying domestically. That's no way to welcome the largest tourist event in the world.

They may be lucky! (4, Insightful)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626249)

I live in London, where just about anyone you ask who lives here will tell you they don't want the games, never wanted the games, and are angry that money to fund the building of venues and facilities is being taken from National Lottery funds and (possibly) direct taxation.

Mileage varies considerably in the short and long-term economic and social effects [google.com] of hosting an Olympics. London doesn't need it, and Chicago may well not have done either.

Re:They may be lucky! (4, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626419)

The London Olympics have epic potential for showcasing the UK. The cycling events should all be on the pot-holed, speed-bumped, litter-filled streets and have to comply with all road laws, the weight lifters would all be subject to health and safety legislation, as would the hammer and javelin throwers. Runners would struggle down the uneven, excrement-smeared pavements, dodging around the lamp-posts, bollards and fencing etc.

Re:They may be lucky! (-1, Flamebait)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626467)

London doesn't want it because English people in general are miserable shits that will whinge about everything.

Actually... (4, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626557)

From all those cities listed in the report linked above, only Athens seems to have failed to properly exploit the effect of hosting the Olympic Games.
All other cites (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sidney, Beijing) reported nothing but growth.

London doesn't need it, and Chicago may well not have done either.

Nonsense.
A global metropolis that can say "I'll pass" to billions invested in the infrastructure, millions of visitors and billions of pounds/dollars/euros spent by everyone?
No such place on this planet.
The effect on the crime and pollution alone (clean streets) is worth the trouble for the average Tom, Dick and Harry.
Those must be some crazy conservative xenophobes you talked to.
Not wanting money during a global economic crisis. Mad as bicycles that lot.

Why not fly into Canada or Ireland first (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626255)

And get precleared through US immigration while still within a civilised country [wikipedia.org] ? No joking: if the Security Theatre misidentifies me as a notorious enemy of Freedemocracy, I'd rather prove my innocence to just about anyone except US "Homeland Security".

Mod this up (5, Insightful)

gerddie (173963) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626377)

Then again, when I'm already in Canada, why would I want to go to the US ;)

Re:Why not fly into Canada or Ireland first (1)

gclarkey (1400995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626385)

And get precleared through US immigration while still within a civilised country [wikipedia.org] ? No joking: if the Security Theatre misidentifies me as a notorious enemy of Freedemocracy, I'd rather prove my innocence to just about anyone except US "Homeland Security".

I live in Ireland and travel to the US regularly with work. The US Immigration guys in Shannon and Dublin are still complete dicks, although they are admittedly less of a pain in the ass than the immigration in Newark, but those are the only three US immigration I've been through. To be fair though, if you want a tough stance on the people you want to let into your country, complete dicks are just the kind of people to do that job well.

Re:Why not fly into Canada or Ireland first (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626533)

I'd take issue with the actual effectiveness of complete dicks at keeping serious undesirables out, but the important difference is that they're complete dicks trying to fuck you under Irish and then ultimately European law, rather than US.

Re:Why not fly into Canada or Ireland first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626599)

Because it is US Immigration that mans these "preclearance points" - can be even more rigorous than flying into US directly.

I'm glad (1)

racerx509 (204322) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626265)

Frankly, I'm glad to see them reject our bid and I'm even happier to see them state why. Everyone knows the border restrictions are stupidly strict in some ways, and too lax in others. What makes this even better is that President Obama himself did the presentation, so it will come as a slap in the face to him. This will hopefully get him moving on rolling back some of the more bothersome portions of provisions of us air travel border restrictions

Easily the most unfriendly airports in the world (2, Informative)

Ovspec (1649189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626269)

Travelling through the US (spending a night there) is one of the worst things that can happen to you. I now avoid it at all costs, even if the other alternative is alot more expensive, hell its even worse that going through Venezuela. You don't need to make people jump through hundreds unnecessary hoops, treat them like some kind parasite/criminal you don't want anywhere near your country and employ the stupidest, most incompetent, pettiest little assholes to handle them in order to protect your country from the big bad terrorism. If a terrorist wants in, its not going to be hard, airports that treat people like scum are just further isolating your country from the rest of the world.

Re:Easily the most unfriendly airports in the worl (4, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626293)

Just so you know, people at American airports don't treat *Americans* very well either.

Re:Easily the most unfriendly airports in the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626485)

Bearded people especially, even if they have a short Abe Lincoln style beard like mine.

Re:Easily the most unfriendly airports in the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626343)

Hi,
I try quite hard to avoid US airports too, including transitting throigh both Mexico and Canada, but when I do I find the staff quite pleasant, by and large. They are generally decent folk operating a pretty poor system. Most Americans, in my experience, are substantially more polite than most Europeans, and this seems ot carry over to your Border protection people.

I protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626319)

Some people enjoy cavity searches when they're on their way to Disneyland.

Good for Rio (good for Chicago) (2, Interesting)

RealityProphet (625675) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626357)

You know, as much as I hate how Obama continually sets himself and America up for trampling on by all members of the international community, Rio deserves this, and so does Chicago for that matter.

The Olympics belong to the emerging economies, not the first world. Western nations whine so much about the possibility of hosting the Olympics, why on earth should they choose any western nation? London has cried from the get go of how much it'll cost, how other large scale projects have failed miserably, even how much traffic it would bring and how much it would, oh gasp, inconvenience the local populace. F em. Half of Chicagoans didn't even *want* the Olympics hosted there. WTF? Why have it there then? What a welcome!

Contrast the western media's handling of the London bid, the Chicago bid with that of the Beijing games and their exuberance. It was the most spectacular games in history, and they were positively giddy to be hosting it. Contrast Chicago's reception of their own bid with Rio's. You get the feeling that all of Brazil wants to host it, so let them! While I don't think it'll be as big as the Beijing olympics, it will be far more spectacular, optimistic, and inviting than anything any of the other condenders would have been able to muster.

Re:Good for Rio (good for Chicago) (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626457)

Well said. I was going to post the same thing. When I heard the argument from the Brazilians I knew it was going to them. They have one of the 10 largest economies in the world and have never hosted. Your argument makes a lot of sense. Getting to host the Olympics should be a badge of honor saying you've arrived. I sincerely hope we get to see the Olympics hosted on every continent.

Re:Good for Rio (good for Chicago) (1)

Darkn3ss (812009) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626549)

Living in the Milwaukee area, I am very glad that the Olympics are NOT going to Chicago. Chicago is a land of garbage and destruction, and doesn't deserve the Olympics. Obama just wanted it there because he lived there once. I will be glad to never see the Olympics in America again. The Olympics just beg for terrorist attacks, and I would prefer to keep those in other nations.

that's gotta be the last reason they lost... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626375)

A history of city government corruption that goes back so far I don't remember a time when it didn't exist, neither can my parents...

A weak police force that's powerless to control the gangs and violence that occurs on a daily basis...

A solid history of mob corrupted city services...

Pollution â" better bring your bottled water since BP is allowed to dumps millions of gallons of solvents into Lake Michigan which is the main source of fresh water...

Don't even get me started about the construction that would need to happen to host the Olympics there â" they can't build anything anywhere near budget or on deadline. Millennium Park, the gigantic park that was to be built for the big Millennium celebration, was tens of millions of dollars over-budget and completed years late, not to mention the poor quality of construction all-around (a moderate downpour will result in days of "raining" inside all levels of Millennium parking garage).

No one seems to pay attention to the fact that they are laying off record numbers of city employees at all levels due to budget deficits, do they somehow think things would magically correct themselves and they would have the funds needed to host an event that size?

They'd have to move the Olympics to Milwaukee at the last minute just so they could happen.

Two words: Kennedy & O'Hare

The only real loser in all this is the mob. They were rubbing their mitts up until yesterday.

In fact I can't even think of one good reason to hold the Olympics in Chicago. I can't believe they are actually surprised they lost.

Brazil's passport system is no picnic either (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626393)

Anyone ever try to enter Brazil? They aren't the easiest either...

Re:Brazil's passport system is no picnic either (5, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626579)

No, they just make you go through the exact same thing a Brazilian citizen goes while going to your contry.

If you're from a Schengen country, come on in. If you're from the US, you need a visa, you need to have your fingerprints taken, etc, etc

Reciprocity's a bitch, isn't it.

Passport Control? (1, Troll)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626395)

What sane person would choose "Chicago" over "Rio de Janiero"? Passport control? Are you kidding me? Chicago is known for being wet, cold, windy, and expensive.

Maybe this will be the wakeup call for Chicago, that their culture of bribery is actually costing them business. But I doubt it.

Thank you, border patrol (4, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626407)

I'm grateful for the men and women who patrol our borders. If this report is true, their hard work has kept us safe from another potential disaster: Having to endure 7 years of unrelenting hype, having to witness multiple late and overbudget Stalinesque construction projects, all capped off by an orgy of hypocritical corporate-sponsored "amateur" contests and overblown nationalism. Good job!

As an American, I can honestly say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626427)

...I'm glad Rio got it. Not just because it's about time a South American country got a chance (though shouldn't the Summer Olympics be held in January down there?), but because I would expect an Olympics held in Chicago would create a black hole sucking in money from all over the country, at a time we can ill afford to increase our deficit.

And no, I don't consider sports stadiums an "investment." There are plenty of economic analyses that show that any return on investment on projects like this -- a return which is iffy, I might add -- is far less than what could be created by using the same resources repairing existing infrastructure.

Quick Answer (1, Flamebait)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626431)

No, Chicago lost the bid because Chicago is a horrible, horrible place.

Puhleez... (1, Flamebait)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626495)

You think the US immigration process is more of a hassle than China's? Hell, they made it MORE difficult to get a tourist visa after getting the Olympic nod.

I think the immigration process had little to do with the decision.

Re:Puhleez... (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626611)

As a matter of fact, yes I do.

I struggle think of countries where I would expect a worse welcome than the USA. Maybe Zimbabwe as Mugabee blames the British for all the problems it is facing at the moment.

Is it Ironic or not ? (5, Insightful)

atlmatt36 (1638631) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626501)

Really, is it all that ironic that the IOC would consider our immigration and the recent crime statistics as reasons to not come here over RIO ? For me at least, I can see their point on a few issues :

1) The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate when measured against citizen head count to incarcerated or otherwise restricted status citizenry (Parole/Probation) of ANY country in the world.

2) A convicted U.S. felon can still travel internationally to other countries, yet the U.S. refuses to consider allowing another country's citizens to arrive here for what constitutes a misdemeanor or less, regardless of time passed

3) Getting back into the country as a citzen or "worse" GC or other status holder is worse than painful if singled out for secondary. I am non-white and get profiled every time I come back, despite having served and having no "reasons" to be flagged other than my last name which is clearly non-american originated.

4) While requiring a VISA or fingerprinting itself is not counter-intuitive to travel, the manner and inconsistency is. Having said that, for being touted as "the land of the free" and "a shining beacon of democracy" is ironic itself when our policies at the border (or even non-border with the TSA and Border Agents) clearly indicate that we are profiling even inside our borders. How do you explain roving road blocks for "immigration" checks just because you happen to be on a road within 100 miles of a border....

5) To host in Chicago, we'd be doing the same things we did in Atlanta. We'd be buying the homeless once again a 1-way ticket to nowhere (or anywhere but "here"), we'd be tearing down projects and displacing people/families to make way for the Olympic Village, and you can be damn sure that the average "Chicagoan" (sp?) would not be able to even get into the venues, much less afford the cost of the tickets being hosted in their own city. This happened in Atlanta where I live in 1996....

6) We just had the summit in Pittsburgh that was shameful in the way it's citizenry were treated as well as most of the peaceful demonstrators. Beatings, the use of a sound cannon and extensive use of tear gas, etc had me thinking initially this was some other country where liberty and democracy/freedom of speech was supressed.... Turns out I was right, but had the wrong country in mind, which was depressing and downright scary

The list could go on with examples, but it would be unfair to clutter the Slashdot database with further examples that are easily googled.
I do love my country and the people in it for the most part, but I'd be lying if I said I believed 95% of the hype that our Tourism Board spews out to attract visitors. I think the loss of tourism and downturn in visitors since we enacted the failed Patriot Act speaks volumes, the rest of the tidbits I shared just add further fuel to the reasons why those who would like to see us (the U.S.) just stay the hell away.
Suffice it to say in my opinion that on the one hand we have U.S. which has clearly become a very dim shadow of itself and the other hand we're trying to portray ourselves, or at least that's my impression as a U.S. Citizen.....

Real reason (1)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626507)

I could come up with some reasons:

- It was just not americas turn. The Olympics is trying to spread it around the globe.
- And, your olympic commitee has been in dispute with The Olympics because of percentage of earnings.
- Quite frankly, the presentation and sending Obama created a unpleasant pressure.
- The US is not making efforts considering drugs/doping, and have make minimal progress in the last ten years.

The US must step down from its virtual high horse and ask itself what they do wrong. The US Passport control is not among where you should change.

You actually fell for that ... amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626509)

The IOC is about money..

If you don't get that then you do not understand what the IOC is all about and what the Olympics has become. Its all about the greed. Low labor rates, compliant legal systems and municipalities, government subsidizing, etc are the cornerstones of the IOC, its a balance between the ability of rich countries to subsidize the build out and poor countries able to do it for cheap, either way as long as it meets the IOCs guiding principles of greed you make the list. Chicago didn't make the grade because it is uninteresting as a destination. The original story is a red herring which you all fell for.

Did Tokyo lose because of this as well? (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626513)

As a visitor entering Japan, you are subject to being fingerprinted and having your picture taken at border control as well as a bunch of harassing questions such as, "Where are you staying and who are you staying with?"(I always make up a fake address). I don't know how much different it is compared to the US, but if they rejected Chicago because of these restrictions, they probably rejected Tokyo for a lot of the same reasons.

been interrogated and fingerprinted at US border (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626515)

I can't help but feel pleased to see the Olympics go to Rio, not Chicago. Hooray for the free world.

I am not an American citizen. At the US border a couple years ago I was subject to a search (ok) and a politically motivated interrogation over 6 hours (not ok) asking me who I knew, etc. They asked me about anything and everything. Was I running drugs? Was I a terrorist who spent time in Pakistan? They seized my laptop and sent it to forensics. Anything and everything was on the table, if only they could pin something on me. You probably don't know what it is like to have every word you speak carry so much weight. What if I misspoke? What if something I thought was perfectly legal turned out to be illegal, and I admitted to it? What if I forgot to delete a questionable picture from my laptop, or brought herbal pills restricted in the USA but not my home country? They tested everything. Finally, after hours of mind games, threats, and good-cop-bad-cop routines, I was fingerprinted, photographed, and refused entry. I had no criminal convictions, no connections to violent or drug organizations, and did not originate in a country known for trouble. My "crime" was to speak and write on unpopular matters. My biometric information is now contained in some databases somewhere. Probably the "servers in the sky." Two weeks later my laptop was returned. I threw it away. The whole experience was terrifying. That to me is America. A terrifying police state where what you say will be used against you at every opportunity. I stopped speaking out.

The Sad Thing... (3, Insightful)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626531)

...is that the Republicans-and probably more than a few Democrats-are going to blame Obama and his administration for something THEY ruined.

Image? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29626547)

I "love" how everything that needs fixing these days is supposed to be fixed by fixing "the image". Don't address the problem, market. There are more than a few people who really don't buy the marketing BS anymore and the younger ones seem to be catching on quicker.

Reminds me of Qantas. Firing a whole bunch of workers then allocating $20 million on an advertising campaign to tell us that they are still wonderful even though services were being hobbled. Personally I would have preferred they keep the services and not have to spend on the marketing but they probably act like the public service. The $20 was in someone elses budget so it couldn't be used for keeping workers. Pet hate, you can probably tell.

As for the US I certainly wont submit to being treated as a criminal just to visit a country so have made it clear that the US is one place we will never visit. Fortunatly there are quite a few other places to go.

Probably not (3, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626561)

Unless something's changed in the past two years, this probably didn't have a huge effect, given that the next two games following Vancouver are going to be held in London and Moscow respectively. Neither the UK nor Russia have a reputation of being particularly welcoming to travelers.

Although not as bad as the US, border security in the UK is by far the most invasive in the EU, opting to screen people arriving from within other parts of the EU. Back when I used to hold a multiple-entry visa to the UK, it was treated as a point of suspicion every time I crossed the border (despite the fact that I had to provide the consulate with every shred of information about my private life in order to get the visa). This policy is completely and entirely illogical -- odds are that the border agencies knew more about me than they do about their own citizens.

On the other hand, Russia takes the cake for bizarre and restrictive immigration procedures. The US state department's page describes [state.gov] these in detail, as there are far too many peculiarities and specifics to list here.

If this was an issue, I seriously doubt that the UK or Russia would have been selected by the IOC. As it stands, Chicago didn't lose by that many votes, and the IOC's voting rules and distribution of membership are hardly fair [fivethirtyeight.com] . An IRV system is definitely needed to prevent the sort of gamesmanship that likely caused Chicago to lose, and somehow made Tokyo lose votes in the second round.

That all said, Rio will be a fantastic host for the games. This will be the first time ever that the Olympics have been held on the South American continent, which is a pretty cool milestone all in itself. I'm fairly confident that the US will be first in line for 2018.

yes, probably (5, Interesting)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29626607)

I've organized some international events, and US border control policies and visa requirements are a big argument against holding them in the US.

Border control in Europe is very simple in my experience; people check whether your passport is on a list, and if it's not, they just wave you through. No fingerprinting, photographs, long lines, tricky questions, pre-registration, or interrogation booths. And despite that, Europe seems to have been doing no worse on terrorism or illegal immigration than the US.

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