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8 Made-Up Events Chicago Would Medal In If It Had Its Own Olympics

By Gwendolyn Purdom in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2016 2:36PM

(Aerial Photo of Construction courtesy of Circle Interchange)

As Rio scrambles to finish building massive venues and clean shady-sounding toxic water and Friday’s opening ceremonies begin, many in Chicago are sharing a sigh of relief. If things had gone differently 10 years ago when Chicago lost out on its bid to host this summer’s Olympic Games, those PR nightmares might be unfolding at McCormick Place or in Washington Park.

Instead, Chicago’s eagerly watching to see whether the games get it together or implode into the garbage fire people are predicting (and of course, Chicago’s also eagerly watching to see how hometown heroes like the recently-engaged Elena Delle Donne and musically-gifted Jimmy Butler perform).

Yes, we may have dodged an Olympic-sized-pool-sized bullet, but just in case you are feeling a little bummed that Gisele Bundchen and assorted samba dancers won’t be gracing Washington Park with their presence Friday, we’ve put together a few ideas for potential Chicago-centric events to consider in case our city ever decides to give the games another go.

Drunken Wrigleyville Hurdles
Athletes would be timed as they travel from Wrigley’s left field bleachers to a high-top table at The Cubby Bear starting from the game’s last out, with extra points awarded for swiftly clearing each slurring bro and vomit puddle you encounter or high-five you’re able to secure along the way.

Reverse Flow Water Polo
The city’s late 19th century efforts to redirect contaminated water flowing from the Chicago River into Lake Michigan in the opposite direction via a network of canals would provide the unique aquatic conditions for this team sport. Heavy-duty wetsuits would be required to protect players from existing environmental hazards (i.e. tourists in kayaks and so much human waste, you guys).

Road Construction Vault
Set up along the Jane Byrne Interchange during peak construction hours, this event would score Chicago drivers’ ability to gracefully soar from one congested expressway to another without uttering or pantomiming a single expletive.

Photo via Roman Boed on Flickr

The Lakefront Trail Freestyle
Head-phoned runners, agitated bikers and oblivious packs of suburban teenagers who walk seven-people-wide face off in this tournament-style battle for Lakefront Trail dominance. Gold Medal round subjects competitors to additional obstacles including off-leash dogs and strollers.

Political Gymnastics
Any city or state elected or appointed official (except for those still in jail) would be eligible to compete in this high-stakes contest to attempt to bend and flip local news and scandals in his or her favor.

Synchronized Brunching
Bloody Mary-fueled groups of friends dash from Dove’s Luncheonette to Charlatan to The Dawson to Saved By The Max at 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday searching for a brunch that will seat a table of seven without reservations.

Weather Wrestling
Chicagoans compete against their own common sense by seeing who can change from their puffer coat and snowboots to shorts and flip-flops first once the temperature hits 50 degrees.

Image via Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder's Facebook page

The Deep Dish Dive
Divided into square-cut thin-crust and deep dish heats, this relay race would lead passionate pizza fans from Pequods to Lou Malnati’s to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, preferably before the satisfying but sickening stuffed-ness kicks in.