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No Olympic Games for Chicago in 2016

Phil Krone 2 October 2009 3 Comments

Copenhagen, Denmark

I just got back to my hotel from what should have been the ‘victory’ party for Chicago’s bid for the Summer Olympics in 2016.

It was always thought to be close between Chicago and Rio, the shock was Chicago’s elimination on the first ballot.

While I am not a huge fan of large scale events I thought that Chicago’s bid was intelligently conceived and planned, and frankly, because Mayor Daley has been my personal friend I wanted it because he wanted it, and was more than happy to pay if necessary my share of whatever the cost might have been, though I truly believe that there might not have been such a cost.

I’m glad that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made their presentations, otherwise he might have been blamed for not speaking up for his country’s bid which also happened to be his hometown.

The No Games Chicago opposition should not feel guilty.  They were not a factor, and indeed the weakness of their argument as well as the paucity of their support was actually an indirect asset to the Chicago bid.   But they did get the result they wanted and for that I feel badly.

Mayor Daley and Chicago 2016 Committee Chair were gracious, even eloquent in their speeches to the more than 400 Chicagoans who filled a ballroom and who had travelled to Copenhagen to support Chicago’s bid.

Frankly, I’m both stunned and saddened to the point where I cannot write any more right now, but there are many issues that need to be discussed.  Let’s just say that I was very proud of my Mayor and my President today.  It was an unfortunate result but not a tragedy.  The tragedy was the hundreds of deaths from the tsunamis and earthquakes in the Pacific.  Its times like this that we have to understand our real priorities.

Phil Krone is a Special Correspondent for the Chicago Daily Observer

image Lord Nelson bombing Copenhagen 1807


  • chimack said:

    Your minimizing the role of No Games demonstrates your lack of knowledge about the host city selection process and the work of No Games.

    No Games being in Lausanne in June when Daley announced that he was putting Chicago taxpayers on the hook for the Games gave the media informed Chicago people to talk to in Switzerland.

    No Game supporters attend all 50 of the ward meetings. They brought real information (ie the truth about the Chicago bid specifically and the costs of the Games generally) to the public that allowed the public to decide that the Games were not a good idea.

    When support for the Games in the last Trib poll went below 50% (47% and 16% if tax money was to be used) the IOC views that as a big red flag and a reason to look elsewhere for a host city. And of course the IOC kept on doing its own polls after the Trib stopped because the polls would no longer support the boosterism of the Trib.

  • Rhoda said:

    Who do you think delivered the flip side of the coin to the IOC while the 2016 Committee presented an unrealistically rosy picture to them? Who do you think delivered the truth when Daley and the 2016 Committee told the IOC in June that there is NO CORRUPTION in Chicago, it was brought in and taken out with Blago? Yes, Obama, Oprah, Daley and the 2016 Committee offended the IOC in numerous ways, but say that nogameschicago was not a factor is inacurate. You are amazingly ignorant for someone who makes a living in Journalism.

  • Phil Krone said:

    I am aware of my own shortcomings and limitations. However, when I said that No Games Chicago was not the reason for us not getting the Olympics I do know what I was talking about. Most of the Chicago boosters departed Copenhagen early on Saturday (the day after tne vote). I stayed until Monday morning and spoke to several journalists and two voting members of the IOC. Actually, Chicago was much closer than would appear; a switch of just three votes on the first ballot would have eliminated Tokyo instead of us, and Chicago would have probably eliminated Madrid on the next ballot which actually lost a vote anyway. While Rio may well have won the last ballot, it was predominantly because South America had never had the Olympics before. There were also problems betwen the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee over TV royalties.

    In any event, the President I believe would not have won the Nobel Prize the following week had we not lost the Olympics. While the award was given for his attitudes and hope for future accomplishments, there is no doubt that being a Nobel Laureate will indeed give him additional leverage as he seeks peace throughout the world in the coming three and hopefully seven more years as President.

    Also it was an honor for Chicago to be one of the four final cities. My personal hope is that whatever plans for the Olympics which can be utilized for Chicago’s future will be implemented in terms of housing, open space, and eco development. More than 95% of the funds expended to get as far as we did were raised by private corporate and individual contributions.

    It is also my hope that Chicago does not compete for the 2020 games. Based on the logic of this year’s selection, the games should be held somewhere in Africa, the only contintent that will not have had them in the more than a century of games held in modern times.

    To specifically deal with the issue of No Games Chicago: They actually asisted Chicago’s case, by the sparse attendance at the 50 ward meetings, which they deserve credit for having had held. I only attended three. One had four individuals from No Games out of 34 attendees, none were from the neighborhood (ward); another meeting wasw mockery, a pep rally, not an informational opportunity, but it appeared that more than 400 lcocal citizens swupported the Games for Chicago. The last meeting was at the Empire Room in the Palmer House downtown and Tom Tresser didn’t even show up and Joan Levin, the most intelligent and eloquent No Games spokesperson didn’t even speak up.

    The games would have been good for Chicago, but the future of our city is not hanging in the balance because we didn’t get them.

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