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My View: Both Trump, Rio Olympics earn gold in hyperbolic hurdles


JULES BOYKOFFIf Twitter-sphere trash-talking were an Olympic sport, Donald Trump would be a legitimate contender for gold.

When the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics commence on Friday, Trump will be consumed with campaigning. But it turns out the Olympics and “The Donald” have a whole lot in common. Like Trump, the modern-day Olympics are a tempting blend of spectacle and speculation. But behind the shimmering scrims sit some brutal truths.

The cosmopolitan luminaries who run the International Olympic Committee inhabit the world of helipads and caviar, a zone of privilege where Trump would feel at ease. The IOC’s Olympic Foundation reserve fund sits at about $1 billion. The IOC and its “Olympic Partners” — the Who’s Who of the corporate world, including Coca-Cola, GE and Visa —could comfortably rub shoulders with Trump and his ilk. When these corporate partners jet into the Olympic host city, they don’t pay a dime in taxes. This is not unlike Trump: the last time he made public his income-tax returns, he had forked over a grand total of $0 to the feds.

Both Trump and the Olympics position themselves as philanthropic, donating to both charities and fulfilling grandiose promises to the host city. But as with Trump, whose donations have proved to be more phantom than opera, the great benefits that the Games supposedly bestow on everyday people in the host city have turned out to be more aspirational than inspirational. Look no further than Rio de Janeiro. Hosting the Olympic Games was supposed to jumpstart the cleanup of the city’s waterways. But today Guanabara Bay and the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which will soon host Olympic water-events, look more like scenes from the Old Testament, plagued by massive fish die-offs and sludgy carpets of trash clogging the shoreline.

According to lore, the arrival of both Trump and the Olympics are supposed to float all economic boats. But with both there’s a gulf between reputation and reality. Trump’s businesses have left a sketchy record in their wake. Exhibit A: Trump University. Exhibit B: his Atlantic City casinos hemorrhaged money. And while Trump himself did not go belly up, his shareholders did.

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