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Chicago's Bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics
Strong infrastructure and public opinion might give Chicago an edge
Beom-seok Sohn (gmitil10)     Print Article 
Published 2009-07-16 14:05 (KST)   
The "Windy City" -- Chicago, was chosen by the International Olympic Committee as one of the four final candidate cities for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The city has taken a bold leap forward in its attempt to secure the bid. It has been over 10 years since the last Summer Olympics was held in the United States (1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta). (1) Will Chicago succeed in bringing the Summer Olympics back to the US for the first time in a decade?

Without a doubt, what Chicago offers is quite impressive. Having scored the third highest of all seven original applicant cities in the preliminary evaluation by the IOC (1), Chicago boasts superior infrastructure and a powerful sports culture within the city. But it will be interesting to see if such advantages will outweigh the three other remaining candidate cities: Tokyo, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro.

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Tokyo' Bid for the 2016 Summer Games
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) began its search for a potential city to host the Olympics by looking at Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Eventually, the list was narrowed down to Los Angeles and Chicago. On July 15, 2007, the USOC announced Chicago as its applicant city. (2)

As mentioned before, Chicago already maintains an existing infrastructure that dwarfs those of many other cities. Although the city lacks an Olympic stadium, Chicago maintains a long litany of functional sports venues that can be credited, in large part, to the city셲 strong sports culture (with sports franchises like the White Sox, the Cubs, the Bears, and others).

The very long list of sports venues includes: Soldier Field, McCormick Place, the Sears Center, Toyota Park, Wrigley Field, Allstate Arena, and the university venues at the local universities. All of this is complemented by Chicago's transportation infrastructure, which, while it may not be as advanced as those of cities like Tokyo, it more than satisfies the transportation needs associated with hosting the Olympics.

This is topped off by strong government, corporate, and public support for the bid. For example, a poll conducted in 2007 indicated that support for the bid within Chicago is as high as 76 percent.(3) Unlike with the FIFA World Cup, the International Olympic Committee does not officially practice continent-rotation (where, for example, one continent cannot host the events consecutively). Yet one cannot deny that Chicago has a slight edge by simply being located in a continent that has not hosted the Summer Olympics in over a decade. This advantage also applies to Rio de Janeiro, however. Rio de Janeiro may actually have a greater edge, as no Summer Olympic Games have ever been held in South America.

Yet another undeniable factor is the fact that Chicago placed behind Tokyo and Madrid in the IOC's preliminary evaluation. (1) The reasons for this could be numerous. Chicago may not carry with it the level of dynamism and excitement that cities like Tokyo do. Perhaps Chicago hasn't focused enough on relations abroad, while only focusing on the technical aspects of its bid. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how Chicago fares when the host city will be announced on October 2.
1. "Race for the 2016 Games." OhmyNews International. 07 July 2009 .

2. "Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 08 July 2009 .

3. Chicago Bid book, page 53. Survey by Zogby International, April 2007
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Beom-seok Sohn

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