Chicago is one of the finalists to get the Summer Olympics for 2016. The other three finalists are Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro (I had originally listed Buenos Aires, but was corrected – my mistake), and Madrid. A decision will be made in October of 2009.
As my wife and I were driving home from vacation last week, we had a chance to chat in the van while the kids were sleeping. The topic of the Olympics came up, after we heard a report from Beijing on the radio. Conversation got around to the bid by the city of Chicago to host the 2016 Summer games.
After mashing it around a bit we both agreed that the citizens of the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois would get soaked – bad – if they got this. Even if the city and state broke even financially (ha!) the unbelievable inconvenience it will give to the citizens will be remarkable. According to the plan (large pdf here) Monroe Harbor would be unavailable to all non Olympic boating for over a year, after the $60 million breakwater is installed for the rowing events. Canoeing would held on the site of the former Meigs Field, where Daley showed the true power of a dictator.
The plan also touts the world class transportation system. My wife and I had a good chuckle over that. Even a cursory reading of the CTA Tattler puts that fallacy to rest.
The application alone costs $50 million. Incredible, no?
Well, I am pretty sure that the citizens of Chicago will be losers if they get the games, but I could also think of some winners. Lake County is one. There they will get some piece of the action such as equestrian events and shooting events. Other winners will be Midwest colleges and universities with their ample supply of empty summer dorm rooms and soccer fields and the like. Teams arrive months in advance of the games to practice and get their athletes used to the atmosphere in the host country. I would bet that here in Madison we would most certainly host a nation or two with our facilities of the UW to offer.
According to the wiki, the costs of the $50m bid and the games themselves will be absorbed by private parties, where the costs of the infrastructure will be absorbed by government. I find this interesting. I can’t imagine spending that sort of money just to see Chicago get the games. Aren’t there charities or anything else that private individuals could spend their money on to be more productive? But I digress.
The paragraph titled “financing” in the wiki about the who’s and what’s of the money is very interesting.
Time will tell if Chicago gets the games – and if they do, what sort of mayhem – or glory – it will bring to the Windy City.
If nothing else, I am hoping that Chicago gets the games to see if Carl makes good on his threat to finally move away from there. He has said to me several times that if Chicago gets the games he will leave – we will see.
Cross posted at LITGM.