Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, July 20

Gapers Block

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There's been a lot of talk recently about Chicago making a bid to host the 2016 Olympiad. Some have said this talk bubbled up to distract the city from Mayor Daley's political trouble. Others say it is only natural for a great city like Chicago to host such a quintessentially international event as the Olympics. I think the two go hand in hand.

Chicago has been called "the Superbowl of Politics," which would make Mayor Daley the Dallas Cowboys of politics. (And, as a side note, this makes the Republicans the Buffalo Bills of politics.) Following form, if the Olympics did come to town, we'd have to give them a distinctive, Chicago style, political and otherwise.

Let's face it: Chicago isn't really an emaciated Romanian steeplechaser, emotional Korean pommel horser kind of town, is it? I mean, we'd make room for them, sure. Timeless tradition of athletic competition, blah blah blah. But if we're going to open up our town to hordes of Nikon toting tourists, stinky Eurotrash backpackers and humorless foreign sportswriters, then we're going to have to throw in some of our own competitive events.

Event 1: Greek Town Panhandler Hurdle
Natch. Participants will start at the 9-year-old Greek style columns at the corner of Van Buren and Halsted, buy a gyro at Mr. Greek, take a shot at the Spectrum, and end at the Madison and Halsted colonnade, all the while hurdling no less than six panhandlers.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Too many kind-hearted athletes offer to share gyro with panhandler, get beaten.

Event 2: Get Decorative Planters Put In On a Residential Street
Olympians move into a neighborhood, buy property, and try to make external improvements to their house without contributing to their alderman's campaign or bribing a building inspector.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Likely success rate of 0.

Event 3: 64th Street Pothole Broadjump
Competitors travel down Halsted Street to 64th, where they try to clear all the potholes between Halsted and Damen.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Numerous back-firing cars may be confused with starting gun. Also, actual guns.

Event 4: Taylor Street Biathalon
Competitors start at Al's #1 and must eat a full Cheesy Italian Beef sandwich with hot peppers — dipped — and all survivors must then cross the street and eat a large Mario's Italian Ice without getting an ice cream headache.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Possible casualty rate of 100 percent (cardiac arrest/stroke).

Event 5: Hipster Power Clean and Power Snatch Lifts
Competitors grab half-drunk hipsters stumbling out of Estelle's at 3am and perform both power clean and power snatch lifts. Points awarded for gross weight lifted after eight hipsters.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Few hipsters carry sufficient weight to provide challenge to Olympians.

Event 6: Fullerton/Damen/Clybourn Floor Routine
Gymnasts use the ball and the ribbon to figure out a way to guide traffic seamlessly through this vaunted intersection. Points awarded for each light cycle that avoids cars blocking the intersection. Points deducted for each honked horn and flipped bird.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS: Combination of exhaust fumes and stench from Vienna Beef plant and cause crippling nausea. Also, vehicular homicide.

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About the Author(s)

Ramsin Canon covers and works in politics in Chicago. If you have a tip, a borderline illegal leak, or a story that needs to be told, contact him at .

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