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Chicago 2016 Makes Swiss Pitch

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 17, 2009 4:20PM

Chicago 2016 made a 45-minute pitch to members of the IOC today, attempting to convince them why Chicago should be chosen as host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Ireland IOC Rep Patrick Hickey, who seems to think Chicago will win the bid, said afterward of Chicago's presentation, "It was excellent, and I heard a lot of good comments from my colleagues." Each city - Chicago, Rio, Madrid, and Tokyo - had 45 minutes to make a presentation and then up to 45 minutes for a Q & A session with the IOC members. USOC VP Bob Ctvrtlik said, "There were areas where we can improve a little bit, especially in giving more details. We were trying to do in 45 minutes what we did in 3 days for the evaluation commission."

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the presentation was that Mayor Daley announced he would sign the Olympic host city contract with no modifications, something Chicago 2016 had previously refused to do, citing legal issues in a January letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge. The IOC replied by saying that it expected all candidate cities to sign the contract. The Trib's Philip Hersh explains:

"Since the evaluation commission visit (in early April) and in our ongoing discussions with them (the IOC), we have been able to secure on the city's behalf a commitment for an excess liability policy significantly over and above the city's $500 million guarantee and indemnification commitment,'' [Chicago 2016 President Lori] Healey said. "That will protect them (the city) to the extent the mayor would be able to execute the contract with no reservations.''

Healey said the commitment was an insurance policy.

In the letter to Rogge, the bid committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee had asked for an acknowledgment or revisions in the host-city contract so that the city's liability is limited to the $500 million it has pledged as a guarantee.

Chicago is the only 2016 candidate city to not make, "a blanket guarantee to cover all financial risks," according to Hersh, who also notes that no city in the last 25 years has won the games without doing so.