Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chicago’s Olympic failure cheered by many Chicagoans; Chalk up a victory for Chalkie

As a native Chicagoan, I was disappointed that Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics was rejected. But it was probably for the best.
Family members who live in the city’s north suburbs were against the idea of Chicago hosting the Olympics. They argued that construction of the Olympic venues would be marred by graft and sweetheart deals in a city known for corruption.
They also figured that the city, and ultimately taxpayers, would end up footing the bill for cost-overruns.
Then there were concerns about traffic gridlock associated with the games themselves.
Needless to say, they were pretty relieved when the International Olympic Committee knocked out Chicago’s bid in the first round of voting Friday. Rio de Janiero ultimately won the honor.
Now Chicago will have to focus on its problems: aging transportation infrastructure, schools in need of aid, and the city’s crime rate, to name a few.
One wag sold T-shirts suggesting that Chicago’s Olympic mascot be a chalk outline of a murder victim holding a torch. Chalkie became the unofficial mascot of the city’s anti-Olympic movement. Check out the “Chalkie 2016” Web site here.
Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass proposed a T-shirt that said “Chicago 2016” on the front and “Terre Haute 2020” on the back.
As every Chicago politician knows, Terre Haute, Ind., is home to a federal prison. That's where a few would be tossed after boodling their way to Olympic fortunes. And why 2020? That’s how long it would take for grand juries to do their work.
Read his full column here.
Most Chicago news coverage about the Olympics was supportive of the city’s bid. But there were many opponents. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that anti-Olympics activists cheered as the rest of the crowd at Daley Center Plaza mourned the voting that sent the 2016 games to Brazil. For more coverage of Chicago’s Olympic bid, check out the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.

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