By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s start with the good news about the just-completed summer Olympic games.

As usual, the athletes themselves provided many inspirational moments. Especially impressive – American gymnasts Simone Biles and Needham’s own Aly Raisman, for their medal-winning skill and athleticism and their personal charm and grace. They did themselves and their country proud.

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Now, the bad news – the Rio games were a ratings and, for the most part, an aesthetic flop.

TV viewership was down sharply from London 2012, despite a more favorable time zone. The closing ceremonies were seen by 31-percent fewer people than four years ago. Events were often delayed so late into the evening by endless commercials and useless feature pieces that kids and working people couldn’t stay up to watch.

But while many viewers were left unhappy, I can think of one person who was left, if not ecstatic, than certainly relieved by what he saw in Rio.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

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He just saw for himself what a huge bullet he dodged when Boston’s ill-fated bid for the 2024 summer games imploded last year.

Beyond the televised Olympic glitz was a Rio disaster, infrastructure improvement and environmental cleanup promises unmet, poor people displaced and harassed, traffic jams and price gouging leaving so many empty seats even sycophantic TV coverage couldn’t hide them.

For every appealing image of Rio that made it on-screen there were numerous images and reports of crime and blight, not to mention a crushing financial burden that Brazil is stuck with.

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Just think – that could have been us.

Jon Keller