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Not Again: Chicago Considered Candidate For 2020 Olympics

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 25, 2010 5:45PM

Well, shit. Did we learn nothing from last year's 2016 Olympic debacle? Let's hope so because a new report in today's Tribune highlights Chicago as "the most viable candidate" should the USOC decide to bid on the 2020 games. Apparently, the failure to land the 2016 Olympics has provided the USOC with plenty of lessons to learn from and while no announcement has been made, we can't help but think, "Not again." Also helping matter for Chicago's chances to be selected by the USOC? The fact that they actually have a plan in place and the timeline for that city selection favors taking that plan and tweaking it: the USOC would have to present a candidate city in 2011 and the IOC would select the 2020 host in 2013.

Not that Chicago as a bid city is a sure thing. Or the U.S. bidding on 2020, either. After the debacle of the 2016 vote - Chicago being the first of the four finalist cities eliminated - the USOC said they wouldn't bid on the 2020 Olympics at all. And USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun hemmed and hawed, saying: "I don't think there is any reason for us (to say there will be no U.S. bid). I think it's highly unlikely." He also added, "On a long-term basis, we would like to host the game in the United States whether it's once every 10, 20 or 30 years. As you all know, we're in discussions with the IOC about revenue-sharing questions, and we don't think it is in our interest to have an active bid while those discussions are active. So we are still in a state of suspension in terms of an Olympic bid."

There's also skepticism over the IOC's desires. Rio will host South America's first-ever Olympics and there's some thought that the IOC might want to go to Africa with the next Olympics. So the report today? Pure speculation though one with a solid foundation. NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol, who would, of course, favor a U.S. Olympics to help boost already high television revenues, said the Chicago 2016 bid was the best of any U.S. bid he had ever seen. Of course, it wasn't good enough for the IOC the first time around so who knows what they'd think this time around, politicking or no.

The 2016 Olympics were to be Mayor Daley's legacy. Instead, they'll go down as a big smudge on the later years of his career - though the parking meter deal and budget deficit he's leaving the new mayor are far more likely to be the lasting legacy; the failed 2016 bid, due in part to the fact that it was really the fault of arguments over TV revenue and soured relationships that had nothing to do with the city itself, will be merely a footnote on Daley's career even if the strain of the failure did contribute - at least a little bit, we think - to Daley hanging it up. Yet the new mayor, be it Tom Dart, Rahm Emanuel, whoever, will have much bigger concerns when they are sworn in next spring. Primarily reversing the city's budget apocalypse, getting infrastructure for the CTA and public schools, and trying to help reverse the state's downward spiral. So let's nip this one in the bud now that the idea has been put out there even if it's merely speculation: No. Don't do it. This can of worms has been open once before and there's no need to do it again. Let's just move on and let the 2016 corpse stay buried where it is.