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Ignoble IOC treatment of Nobelist Obama

October 9, 2009 | 11:56 am

One thing came immediately to mind when I learned Friday morning that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Wonder what the petty pooh-bahs of the International Olympic Committee think now of embarrassing a Chicago bid endorsed by the Nobel Peace Prize winner?

It was one thing -- and entirely justifiable -- to award the 2016 Summer Games to Rio de Janeiro. It was another to eliminate Chicago in the first round and, in effect, reject all the overtures President Obama has made to the Olympic movement on behalf of the United States.

The president made several videos emphasizing a new U.S. commitment to re-engage the world and said a Chicago Olympics would be a wonderful vehicle for improving global relations and show that commitment. Then he showed his respect for the IOC and the Olympic movement by becoming the first U.S. president ever to appear in person on behalf of a bid.

After all that, some IOC members chose to avenge old grudges with the U.S. Olympic Committee rather than appreciate the efforts and pledges Obama had made. Some even suggested they voted against Chicago because they had been inconvenienced by security arrangements for Obama last Friday in Copenhagen.

For years, former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch had shamelessly lobbied to get the IOC a peace prize for its role in helping reintegrate a sports world segregated by race (South Africa) and politics (Soviet bloc, the divided Koreas).

The IOC still is waiting for its Nobel. No surprise there. Its members are more skilled at the ignoble.

-- Philip Hersh