Friday, October 02, 2009

No Games for Chicago

By Bethany Jaeger
Chicago’s quest to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is over. The Windy City was eliminated in the first round of voting of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen this morning. Other cities in the running were Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo. Tokyo was eliminated in the second round of voting. Rio won the final vote.

Read about the positives and negatives of a Chicago Olympics in Illinois Issues magazine’s “Going for the gold.” Some saw a lucrative opportunity, while others saw long-term fiscal and social costs. The activist group No Games Chicago said tax dollars would be better spent on affordable housing, school construction and mass transit in underserved areas of the city. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police expressed concerns about public safety after the city’s long string of gun violence.

Chicago’s bid has been led by Mayor Richard Daley and Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 chairman and chief executive officer and a former Fortune 500 insurance executive. They were joined in Copenhagen for a last-minute pitch by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Oprah Winfrey and Olympic athletes.

The loss means a state law enacted in April won’t be needed. It would have offered a $250 million guarantee if the Games’ budget went overboard.

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