Come October 2, 2009, the world will finally know who will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to decide which one of the four finalists is worthy of the Olympics.Along with Chicago, Tokyo, Japan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Madrid, Spain will all by vying to be recognized as the host country for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The last Summer Olympics held in the U.S. was in Atlanta, Georgia, made famous by the bombing in the Centennial Olympic Park. Chicago isn’t new to the idea of Olympic hosting. On numerous occasions the city has been involved in the discussion for host city, but eventually was never chosen. However, 2016 may be different. Chicago was chosen by the USOC as the United States finalist for the 2016 Summer Olympics in April, 2007.
Let’s take a look at some of the PRO’s and CON’s of Chicago being the host city for the 2016 Olympics:
-Cultural diversity comes to mind as being a major advantage for Chicago hosting the Olympics. Let’s face it, that’s what the Olympics are about, bringing various nations of different backgrounds, races, and cultures together to compete for sporting supremacy. Chicago has varying communities of different ethnic backgrounds that foreign nations can relate to. It also allows for those individuals of other ethnic backgrounds living here, seeing their native countries competing in the United States.
-Chicago is no stranger to sports. With Chicago having a major sports franchise in all the major sports; Chicago Bulls, Bears, Cubs and White Sox, and Blackhawks, Chicago couldn’t be more ready for the grand daddy of them all in sporting events. The Olympics provide its participants and viewers with the opportunity to see every imaginable summer sporting event possible. With Chicago having some of the craziest and most loyal sports fans out there, the Olympics would be treated like a king.
-Chicago is a well known tourist attraction, not only for people that live in the United States, and the city itself, but for people of foreign nations visiting the country and city. With an abundance of tourist attractions, there would be something to do outside of the Olympics if one chose to do so. I have to start with the museums; Chicago has a ton. The Museum of Science & Industry, of Contemporary Art, and the Field Museum allow visitors to view some of the greatest pieces of art and innovations our world has to offer, from past and present. The Shed Aquarium and Adler Planetarium allow us to check out aspects of space and the sea/oceans. Chicago also has two zoos; Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo, something enjoyable for kids and parents alike. The restaurants Chicago has to offer are also five-star and top notch. With all of the cultural diversity, one can taste some of the delicacies other nations have to offer right here at home. Chicago can also boast about its parks and beaches. Spend some time in the sun on the lake front or catch some zzz’s in the park. One of the newer parks is Millennium Park, which has an outdoor concert venue, as well as some awesome architecture.
-One of the most important aspects Chicago has to offer is its infrastructure in general, with transportation and living accommodations at the top. Chicago offers an array of public transportation in the form of the CTA Bus system as well as the Metra and L Train systems. These allow for access to just about anywhere in the Chicagoland area. Hotel accommodations are as abundant as you could think of. Some of the best hotels reside in Chicago, with local, national, and global recognition. This would allow for tourists and travelers alike to find comfortable accommodations while staying in the city.
-A major aspect Chicago is trying to provide with the 2016 Summer Olympics is a sense of Going Green. And why not? As noted by just about everyone who deals with the environment, we need to start recognizing the importance of going green. This would not only help our environment, but it would also allow the creation of jobs that weren’t available in the past. I think it’s a great idea and should serve notice to those cities hosting the Olympics before and after 2016.
-One of the first things that come to mind in representing a CON is where they are going to build everything needed to make the Olympics possible. Many of the sporting venues would be taken care of; Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, United Center, and Soldier Field would all be viable venues to host sporting events. But the use of other venues and the construction of new ones would need to take place to host certain sporting events. Those plans have already been made and construction would need to start right away. There is no Olympic Village, but one would obviously be built, being the living accommodations for the athletes. One of the biggest needs for Chicago is a large enough venue to host the opening and closing ceremonies. Soldier Field has been proposed but an addition would need to be made to accommodate approximately 80,000 people. That’s still up for debate. It’s also important to note that other venues outside the Chicagoland area have been proposed to host certain events. But does that really make it the Chicago Olympics then? Playing preliminary basketball games at the All-State Arena in Rosemont is fine, but it really isn’t Chicago. This same idea can be said for other venue sites, as they are not necessarily in or around the city of Chicago itself.
-Time is big factor in all of this. Yes, it will be seven years before the Olympics take place from the time that the decision is officially made, but it will take a while to build everything needed for a prosperous and comfortable summer Olympics. While seven years may seem like a lot, and it is, Chicago would need to start building these extra venues and sites right away. Chicago is already in a building frenzy within the city itself and outlying areas, trying to clean up the city’s image from years past. Now, to think that more construction would need to take place for the Olympics to be feasible is a headache waiting to happen. Just ask the city’s residents. All of these things take time; China certainly seemed to be in a crunch for time this past summer with their construction efforts. So, you can’t really think otherwise for the city of Chicago either.
-MONEY! All of this costs money. And a lot of it. Here we are, January 2009 and Chicago sits in a major deficit of $500 million or so. That kind of money just doesn’t drop from the sky and into your lap. Chicago would need major funding from anyone and everyone to make sure the construction is taken care of and that all the representatives are being paid for their time and efforts. Chicago Olympic officials have discussed this situation in detail and how they could come up with a sufficient amount of money to make this whole thing possible.
In general, I don’t think you could find a better place to host the 2016 Summer Olympics than Chicago, Illinois. While it would need a lot of work to make it possible, the city itself already has much of what is needed to host an Olympics. With its diversity and infrastructure, Chicago is primed to be host. If you doubt me, just ask newly elected President Barack Obama. He’d probably repeat my same endorsement. So, for the residents of Chicago, and those across the world, we’ll just have to wait another 260 days or so to find out if Chicago will be host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Just cross your fingers!