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Sizing Up The 2016 Candidates At A Glance: Chicago

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 28, 2009 5:00PM

This week, as we prepare for Friday's announcement of the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, we'll feature a quick look at each city's proposed venues and bid. Today, we start with our own city, Chicago.

logho.jpg History
Chicago has never hosted an Olympics. The city was actually awarded the 1904 Summer Olympics but faced opposition from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis - location of that year's World's Fair - which threatened to put on an athletic event that would overshadow the Olympics unless the Olympics were moved to St. Louis. Eventually, the Olympics caved and St. Louis hosted the games that year. Chicago was also considered for the '52 and '56 Games, but when no one showed up to pitch Chicago to the IOC, the city was passed over.

Bid cost
At the beginning of the bid process, Chicago 2016 announced a budget of $49.3 million to be spent on the bid, all money coming from private donations. A recent report, however, claims the city raised up to $73 million to ultimately be spent on the bid.

Proposed Games Cost
Chicago 2016 announced a $4.8 billion cost for the Games. The Tribune has a breakdown of tax money to be used.

Preexisting, No Permanent Work Required
United Center, Lake Michigan Sports Complex (East, North, West), Soldier Field, UIC Pavilion, Northwestern University (Modern Pentathlon), Additional fields for soccer in other cities (Pasadena, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore)

Preexisting, Permanent Work Required
Private shooting complex

New (Permanent)
Olympic Stadium, Monroe Harbor, Olympic Island Slalom Course, Douglas Park Olympic Velodrome, Jackson Park Hockey Fields, Olympic Aquatic Center, Additional fields for soccer in other cities (Meadowlands, New Jersey)

New (Temporary)
Buckingham Fountain Plaza (marathon), Douglas Park BMX track, Wisconsin Mountain Bike Circuit, Wisconsin Road Cycling Course, Tempel Farms (equestrian), Lincoln Park Tennis Center, Grant Park Archery Fields, North Ave. Beach (triathlon), Olympic Island Sailing Center, Olympic Island Beach Volleyball Center

The United States has not hosted a Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games...The recent election of President Barack Obama was also seen as a plus to the U.S. bid as is Obama's decision to travel to Copenhagen to support the bid...The city's tourism infrastructure - including tens of thousands of hotel rooms and two major international airports - as well as an (allegedly) strong public transportation infrastructure have also been cited as positives...Chicago's bid also relies heavily on pre-existing and temporary venues rather than the construction of new, permanent venues...The bid claims over 85 percent of participating athletes will have their events take place within 15 minutes travel time of the proposed Olympic Village.

The Atlanta Games in 1996 didn't exactly leave the IOC impressed, especially given it saw the first terrorist attack at an Olympics since the 1972 Munich Games...An ongoing feud between the USOC and the IOC over revenues and a proposed USOC-run Olympic channel has boiled over the past few years, creating some bitterness...Chicago's - and by extension, Illinois' - issues with political corruption have been cited (Balgojevich's impeachment earlier this year didn't help that image)...The city has also experienced several high-profile financial missteps, including a debt large enough to force several furlough days as well as the widely-reported Parking Meter Deal fiasco. No word on how heavily this weighs on the IOC in the wake of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games bribery scandal.

[Website, Bid book]