Home > Summer > Potential 2016 Host: Chicago

Potential 2016 Host: Chicago

For the critique of Chicago’s chances I enlisted the help of commenter Sportsgal, who is known internet wide and just so happens to be a Chicago resident. Here is her take, presented unedited and unabridged.

As a resident of Chicago with the potential to make some serious dough renting out my apartment to visitors, I welcome the possibility of Chicago winning the bid for the Olympic games in 2016.  But let me take a realistic look at the chances this city has for becoming an Olympic host city:

1.  Location –
PROS Chicago has Lake Michigan, a perfect spot for rowing, triathalon and beach volleyball events.  The lake front also has miles of paved roadway which could be used for the marathon events and help minimize road closures in the city.  The United Center would be perfect for the volleyball and basketball events.  New facilities would need to be created for other events (including a new arena for track and field and swimming), but there is ample space available along the lake on the south side of the city. 
CONS I’m not sure how the bike race would work… Chicago is flat farm country so I can’t see how they’d make the race challenging enough.  But this is a small con, so it doesn’t really count.  The other con is the amount of new construction that would have to be built.  Buildings go up relatively quickly here, but it can take years before the city council approves new construction.  There is a lot of conflict between the Aldermen and the mayor’s office, so it’d be interesting to see how this would work out.
2.  Transportation –
PROS The city has two major airports (Midway and O’Hare), and both have public transportation that can take people directly into the downtown area.  The Chicago Transit Authority has spent millions of dollars on renovations to the elevated trains system, and will be able to support a high level of ridership by the time 2016 rolls around.
CONS Traffic is a fucking joke in this city, and that’s without an extra 200,000 people in town to watch the Olympics.  The bus system would be at a stand still heading to the south side every day for events.  The trains would need more work, a daunting task considering the CTA has had to threaten strikes multiple times to get the state of Illinois to approve their budget.  If they don’t spend a hefty chunk of change on transportation updates, there are going to be some MAJOR issues.
Throw in all the intangibles (the city’s architecture, history, night life, world class restaurants, proximity to other cities, summer weather, bringing the Olympics back to the United States), and Chicago has a good chance of winning the bid.
[Ed. Note]- Personally I think Chicago’s bid stacks up well with the others, and in my mind could even be the favorite. If Chicago doesn’t win the bid, the United States will go more than 14 years without an Olympics (2002 Salt Lake City) and more than 20 years without a Summer Games (1996 Atlanta), call it excessive Patriotism, but that’s much too long.
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Categories: Summer
  1. August 5, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Consider me un-American I guess, but I don’t want them in Chicago.

    It would be an absolute nightmare. All it takes it for one person driving to hit a EL upright on Lake St. and the whole CTA is done for.

  2. LoopIllini
    August 6, 2009 at 8:53 am

    The bicycle road racing will be held near Madison, Wisconsin where the topography is more conducive to an Olympic caliber race.

    As far as construction and traffic issues here, do you not think that these are also concerns for the other 3 bidders as well? These are issues EVERY Olympics host has to deal with. Honestly, can you say that the traffic in Chicago is worse than Tokyo? Can you honestly say that the public transport system in Chicago is worse than in Rio? You can’t…because it isn’t. Every place has its detractions to their respective bids. Should Chicago win, facilities will get built. Daley will ensure that this happens…remember Meigs Field?

    In the end I feel Chicago will win this bid. The stars are too well aligned for this not to happen. As you stated it will be 20 years since the US has hosted an Olympics and lets face it, the US is a cash cow for the IOC, especially when the games are held on American soil…they need us more than they want to admit. Madrid and Tokyo…especially Madrid…are hamstrung by their continental neighbors hosting so recently…Beijing in ’08 and London upcoming in 2012. Rio is interesting and could provide some challenge, but I think that the world’s love affair with Obama will still exist just enough in October that when he goes to Copenhagen (he has all but assured Chicago that he will be there) many voters will swoon and give Chicago the win.

  3. johnny
    August 7, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Hello. Thank you for this great info! Keep up the good job!

  4. August 9, 2009 at 1:02 am

    thank you! I really liked this post!

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