Chicago 2016: Will it Happen?Just three minutes before noon on Friday, the City of Chicago will learn if it's awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics. Nearly two years of constant media hype will come to a head. Some are in favor while others are not.
The greater Chicago metropolitan area is split over the games. One group believes the city will gain world-wide exposure and international revenue will skyrocket. The other group believes it's ultimately another way to generate revenue for the politically corrupt. They don't believe the city will see any long-term financial benefits.
All along, I thought Chicago was a long shot. We have a terrible transportation system. Regardless of which expressway you drive, congestion is brutal. For a city this large, we don't have enough lanes for traffic. Try traveling downtown on a summer night when the Cubs and Sox both play at home. Our sports complexes are not exactly world-class either. Add to the mix that the 2010 Winter Games will held in Vancouver, and the 2012 Summer Games will be in London. That's a lot of northern, English-speaking cities, plus the Olympics have never been held in South America.
Until recently, I was almost 100% certain that the games would be awarded to Rio de Janeiro. However, over the last few days, I've almost spun a complete 180 degrees. On the airwaves, some of the sports radio personalities I listen to regularly have stated that President Obama's staff would not send him to Copenhagen unless it was lock that Chicago would win the Olympics. You know, they're probably right.
Personally, I have mixed feelings. I have not followed the Olympics with any serious interest since the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. I loved the 1984 games in Sarajevo and Los Angeles. I remember my teachers tracking the medal totals for the various winners. Neat experience for 10- almost 11-year-old. I was still interested when the next Olympiad brought the games to Calgary and Seoul, but not nearly as much. By 1992, I watched, but I had no real interest in the outcome. Once the United States allowed professional athletes, specifically The Dream Team, I didn't see the point anymore. Still, I am not opposed to the games themselves being here.
If Chicago is awarded the games, odds are my company will get work as a result. That's good. Fantastic actually. I hope that all the talk of radically improved transportation comes to fruition. I just doubt the city and suburbs will benefit like we are being told we will. Back in early June, Susan and I spent a few days in Atlanta. Unless I missed something, I didn't see any signs that the city benefitted long-term from the Olympics. I just saw the Olympic cauldron standing in the parking lot at Turner Field. From what I heard, that wasn't even the actual location from the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Still, Susan said she would relish the opportunity to the carry the Olympic flame for a short run. If we do get the games I hope she gets the chance to do that. I just hope I get my Cubs World Series parade before that day. Don't worry, I am not holding my breath for that to happen.
Since Humzooers are scattered around the United States, what are your thoughts? What city do you think will be the 2016 Summer Olympics? Have your opinions changed since my last blog about the Olympics?