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Chicago 2016 Gains Momentum

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Aug 25, 2008 8:30PM

2008_08_25_chi2016.jpgAs the 2008 Beijing Olympics fade into memory, it appears as if Chicago is the current front-runner for the 2016 bid over Rio, Madrid, and Tokyo thanks, in part, to a low-key approach. One unnamed IOC source told the Tribune, "It's Chicago's to lose...If they don't muck it up, they should win." Chicago 2016 spokesman Patrick Sandusky tried to downplay Chicago as a favorite, saying, "We think it's still far too early in this race to identify any city as the front-runner, with four world-class cities in the race, all with compelling campaigns." The final vote for the 2016 Olympics will occur on October 2, 2009.

Geography could also factor in the decision. With Beijing (2008) being in close proximity to Tokyo and London (2012) to Madrid, it seems that the IOC may favor either Rio or Chicago. Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup so there is some concern whether that city will be able to host two large undertakings in a short amount of time. Some pundits even think an Obama win in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, and the likely subsequent foreign policy shift, might help the Chicago bid, not to mention the fact that some IOC members are still bitter about McCain's involvement in Senate hearings in the aftermath of the 1998 IOC bribery scandal.

Ireland IOC member Patrick Hickey has some advice for the Chicago 2016 organizers: use Mayor Daley less more.

"Chicago has a hidden jewel in its bid: They are not fully utilizing the mayor.

"He has a tremendous presence and personality," Hickey said, noting that he connects well with both dukes and ditch-diggers. Compared with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "Daley is more genuine, more a man of the people."

So far, we're fans of Chicago 2016's tasteful advertising campaign and several of us on the Chicagoist staff like the idea of hosting the Olympics. But we also wonder: with crime on the rise, a transit system in dire need of a major overhaul, and - oh yeah - that $400 million budget deficit, how exactly are we going to pay for everything? And how the hell can our infrastructure withstand the extra strain? Anyone that suggests "raise taxes" gets exiled to St. Louis.