Thursday, October 1st, 2009

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?

Tags:  Chicago, Olympics
I'm so torn about this. While on the one hand I do think it would be great for the city/surrounding burbs money wise, I think it's going to be a big PITA for those of us who live here! Charlie and I have already decided that if we're still living here, we'll try to rent out our house to a family of one of the athletes and get outta dodge. Charlie works downtown right on Michigan Ave, so at the very least, he would telecommute for those 2 weeks.

And as far as us going to any of the events...I'd be way too scared. I know it's the Olympics, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the games, but I am not good with large crowds and even though I'm sure security would be world class, it would still make me too nervous that some sort of terrorist attack could happen (yes, I'm letting them win with that attitude!)
Jules   Thursday, October 1, 2009
Funny I thought about Atlanta when I heard on the news that Chicago is in the running. I remember there was a bomb there (nail bomb, if I remember) that caused a lot of injuries and stress for the city. And that was before the terrorist stuff is so real and in our face. I remember hearing about the horrific traffic and poor showing of the city to manage it and the hordes of people. The whole time I lived in MN I heard (and experienced) the perpetual road construction around Chicago. Are they actually going to get that done before the games so the freeways aren't under construction during the Games? And aren't they horrendously expensive now? I vaguely remember someone who lived close to the Games and wanted to go but it was simply too expensive. Lastly I'm with Bill on the lack of interest in the Olympics. The hype and the huge amount of advertising has spoiled the games for me. And the events seem flat. Maybe that is what you mentioned about the professionals. They seemed to take the excitement out of it. And the 5 minutes of watching the Games between 10 minutes of commercials. Oh, and the verbal abuse from announcers who never shut up and talk continuously and wear out my ears. :)
LGrant   Thursday, October 1, 2009
well we'd definitely benefit up north here (in WI). they already said we'd house some athletes and some of the bike races would take place in madison.

i'd love to get a chance to see some action. bittersweet that there is no softball but i'd make every effort to see something, anything. it's the olympics for crying out loud!
Carrie   Thursday, October 1, 2009
My question about this thing is why is so important to Chicago and your president Obama? He will not be up for re-election because he will have served his one term by 2013. I believe he realizes that the jobless situation will not have improved; consequently, the Olympics Construction will create a large construction boon doogle. On the very negative, I am afraid your president is trying to get his congressional allies to change the Term Limits; however, that is a Constitutional Change and I don't believe it will happen. If anybody from through out the US will think they will benefit, they are wrong.
BeanCounter37   Friday, October 2, 2009
I feel pretty certain that Chicago is getting the games. Chicago will get a lot of money dumped into the infrastructure and new sports facilities out of the deal. That is the way every Olympics has been. I think it is exciting but I'm safe from the crowds here in Charlotte. I would enjoy going to the beach volleyball games or some of the swimming/diving events.
I did hear that this will lead to a lot of work in design which is good for my field. I'm sure that a lot of industries will benefit.
I love Chicago!
Spike   Friday, October 2, 2009
Oh my God! What does Bean's comment have ANYTHING to do with the Olympics? Stay on topic!
soundchick   Friday, October 2, 2009
Not sure where Bean was going with that.
Bill Pearch   Friday, October 2, 2009
No games for Chicago. We were just eliminated.
Bill Pearch   Friday, October 2, 2009
Sorry Chicago!
Spike   Friday, October 2, 2009
Another early October exit for Chicago sports.
Bill Pearch   Friday, October 2, 2009
Best thing for Chicago because Obama was overseas trying to glorify himself rather than doing his job as President and C-I-C. More and more errors like this are pointing towards him being a one termer.
BeanCounter37   Friday, October 2, 2009
Oh Bean, really?
Bill Pearch   Friday, October 2, 2009
Isn't part of his job as President to help promote and stimulate the economy of the US?
Snelly   Friday, October 2, 2009
Snelly, I thought that was part of his job, too.
Bill Pearch   Friday, October 2, 2009
I'm confident you know your geography but just in case you don't, I'll let you in on a little secret: Chicago was the only US city in the running... so it was important to OUR country. I have another little secret... until you move to another country, he is your president, too.
Carrie   Friday, October 2, 2009
First round exit was shocking! The buzz came too late. In Champaign people didn't talk about it until the week of... and it is only a 2 hour drive!
Ben H   Sunday, October 4, 2009
It's been a constant buzz here for two years.
Bill Pearch   Sunday, October 4, 2009
I was really hoping Chicago would get it!!!!!!!!!!!!
Amber   Monday, October 5, 2009
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