By Makuna Tande in Copenhagen
The day started with promise as President Obama touched down
in Copenhagen. But I knew the winds were turning. We had been afraid
of Rio’s powerful emotional message. And when the Rio team showed the
world the dreaded map showing where the Olympics had held, we knew the
game was up.
This time the map was even more telling. On previous stops, only the names of past host cities were on the famous Rio map. The Brazilians took it a step further this time: A huge graphic depicting the number of times each continent had hosted the games was added. It was too powerful.
The writing was on the wall the night before. We realized that we had lost a block of 11 votes. I will explain this loss in a future piece. Additionally, two of our supporters did not make it to Copenhagen. With only 95 votes at stake, the loss of 13 votes was insurmountable. We were finished but we marched on.
It is time for us to congratulate Brazil for an absolutely brilliant campaign. The emotion that Brazil showed at every campaign stop was breathtaking. Their core message – bring the Games to South America for the first time - resonated. Brazil deserved to win and the 2016 games will be successful. With the choice of Brazil, Olympism has won.
For me there are no regrets. The financial gains would have been enormous had Chicago won. But the real currency in life is not cash; instead, it is in the currency of our friendships, in the networks we build. Today, I am fantastically blessed with new friends and a turbo charged network. This time the Brinks Truck missed my stop but I am rich.
Makuna Tande with Tony Blair during the Sports Sustainability Summit in Chicago
This journey was also an invaluable learning opportunity. I have a better appreciation of the complexities of international deal making in the non business arena.
We gathered at the Axelborg for the vote announcement and victory party. It was a dead party. The band played and nobody danced. Everyone was in shock. We were not supposed to fall off the rails in the first round. They say it is not over until the fat lady sings. She is singing and it is GAME OVER.
Makuna Tande was a member of the Chicago2016 team in Copenhagen. Visit his blog at www.makuna.net for more inside details about Chicago's Olympic bid.