We Were So Close

Does Chicago have what it takes to host the Olympics?

When the city of Chicago announced its bid last January for the 2016 Summer Olympics, some of us thought to ourselves: you’ve got to be kidding me. Chicago, the city notorious for its heavy traffic and constant influx of people, actually hosting the Olympics? The idea just seemed outlandish. However, as the bidding process continued, it turned out that Chicago’s dreams of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics were short-lived. On October 2, 2009, a few of us let out a sigh of relief when the Olympic Committee eliminated Chicago from the bidding process during the fourth round of selection.

But honestly, I was slightly disappointed. The fact that Chicago was selected as the final bidding city for the U.S. is noteworthy. In fact, contrary to popular belief, Chicago has a number of things working in its favor to potentially host the Olympics one day.

There are several sporting facilities near the location of where the proposed Olympic stadium was to be built: the United Center, Wrigley Field, Allstate Arena, Sears Centre and the McCormick Place among many others. The McCormick Place convention center, the second largest in the world, was expected to host 11 events and would have been located nearby the Olympic Village, the housing units for the athletes. This would have been very convenient because the athletes would have been able to quickly reach their sporting events and escape Chicago’s heavy traffic.

It seems that Chicago’s officials know what they are doing. They not only have facilities that are well-equipped for the games, but Chicago also has prior experience in hosting other big sporting events. It’s rather reassuring to know that they’ve already hosted the Special Olympics in 1968 and the AIBA Boxing Championships in 2007 and, in the future, can hopefully host the Olympics with the same efficiency.

The Olympics draws in the world’s most renowned athletes and allows them to compete center stage for coveted titles. It truly would have been an honor for the U.S. if Chicago was selected to host the Games. But the reality is that it lost the bid by a close margin, and despite my own protests, Chicago will not be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics–a major letdown. We can only hope that the city will make the necessary changes and reapply in the coming years.