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Thursday, April 18

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Andrew / August 21, 2005 8:07 PM

Question courtesy of Ian. Thanks!

Chad / August 21, 2005 8:25 PM

And make a three-ring circus of the city? Here's the mental image: hordes of cattle-like humans in straw hats, white shorts, green Seattle Seahawks t-shirts, cheap flip-flops, and camcorders around their necks. I think I'll pass. Besides, remember how expensive Olympic event tickets get? Ouch. Might as well make a reservation at Charlie Trotter's—it's a better investment.

On the flip side, it might promote investment into the public transportation infrastructure, which is never a bad thing... Can you say "Circle Line?"

Eric / August 21, 2005 11:35 PM

No. I can't imagine finding a Tylenol big enough to handle the headache.

Stephen / August 21, 2005 11:49 PM

Absolutely. It would give me a good chance to take a much-needed three-week vacation away from Chicago.

But, yes, I'd be into it. Echoing Chad's sentiments above, after seeing what the Olympics have done for the infrastructures of the cities that have recently hosted, it's a pretty attractive proposition.

Though I wonder how such events affect a city's more marginal populations on both a short- and long-term basis - especially the homeless?

DCE / August 21, 2005 11:57 PM

Chad makes an excellent point about infrastructure improvements. Should Chicago get the Olympics, however, the city won't be gifted with the Circle Line. It'll be the all important "express" trains from the airports to Block 37 and ramped up O'Hare expansion, if anything.

Still, I've often wished that Chicago play host to an international event to rival the World's Fairs of 1893 and 1933. The Olympics are the closest modern equivalent.

mike / August 22, 2005 2:06 AM


If just for the kickboxing and Chitown love. Also, they owe it to us after making Improv Olympic change their name.

And also----If it happens I'll stand on the corner of Michigan and Washington and read the entire Illiad. Sound like a deal?

Josh / August 22, 2005 6:53 AM

Why not? It will give da mayor another excuse to borrow money on the city's tab and spread around contracts to political allies.

And infrastructure improvements? Ha, I laugh in your face. Millenium Park cost upwards of $500 million dollars. Sculptures, exotic landscaping, funky bridges, ice skating....

Meanwhile, the CTA is out panhandling.

Compare the money spent on Millenium Park with the conditions of the Division station on the Blue Line.

Where are Chicago's prioirties?

Sell the bean. Save the CTA.

Craig / August 22, 2005 7:41 AM

"Compare the money spent on Millenium Park with the conditions of the Division station on the Blue Line."

Millennium park was funded by private donations, the CTA is not, yet.

steven / August 22, 2005 8:21 AM

I say no. Why put ourselves more in debt than we already are?

waleeta / August 22, 2005 8:52 AM

Isn't it inevitable one day anyway? I say bring on the foreigners!

Josh / August 22, 2005 9:03 AM

>Millennium park was funded by private donations.

Better check your facts, Craig:

Paula / August 22, 2005 9:29 AM

I think a Chicago Olympics would be excellent. Yes, it would be expensive to host, but I think that the leftovers (potentially improved public transit and world-class athletic venues among other things) would be worth it. Would the tickets be expensive? Sure - but look at it this way - in this case you'd only have to pay for a ticket and not jacked up hotel and restaurant prices like you would if you went to an Olympics in another city. Would it screw up the city for a few weeks? Probably, but I'd assume mostly just the Loop/Michigan Ave. area and not the outlying neighborhoods - big deal, so you don't go to Millennium Park or the Art Institute during the events. I think it's so important to show the world what a great city we have in Chicago - the restaurants, the culture, the people - that something like the Olympics could be a springboard for tourism for years to come. And no, I don't work for the city.

Yet Another Jen / August 22, 2005 10:02 AM

I don't think host cities benefit much any more. Atlanta didn’t seem to.
Like DCE says, the infrastructure went to a few places, like a metro from the airport to the hotel-filled areas. Nothing really for the neighborhoods. In fact, the neighborhood I stayed in during the Atlanta Olympics barely knew they were hosting it.

The vendors were disappointed and not making much, the bars and restaurants were not as full as they expected and that was before the bomb (we left earlier that day). Wasn’t the mascot a blue bloby thing? I bet the city got stuck with millions of those…

I also think it’s too hard to host an Olympics in an already full city. You need an endless number of tracks, pools, courts and more (and where are they going to mountain bike? or kayak?) In Atlanta the venues were far away from each other, making it very hard for visitors to get from one event to another. Plus, the security of the athletes and guest is a huge undertaking. Whole blocks of Atlanta were closed off because they were the “Olympic Village” yet they were located nearest the venues, so you had to walk blocks out of the way. Chicago would have to be like that too.

And I doubt Chicago could prepare in time. “Millenium” park opened in 2004!

e_five / August 22, 2005 10:15 AM

Absolutely. The benefits last for decades afterward, in facilities, improvements, and tourism. An Olympics would turn the world's attention to Chicago as a tourism destination potentially ahead of or in addition to New York, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, Orlando, and Las Vegas.

Even if the only benefit is that the CTA is put in top working order, it's worth it.

victor / August 22, 2005 10:29 AM

I say yes. It is niot just the infrastructure in terms of public transportation that intrigues me, but the fact that the facilities left behind (like olympic village to be used for dorms, refurbished stadia) will make this a much better city. I do not know what we will do with a leftover velodrome, but all the other facilites are investments for the comminity for the future.

Add to that all the good things Maggie Haskins mentioned in the SI article about the ease and efficacy of staging it in the lakefront, I say go for it.

Bubba / August 22, 2005 11:29 AM

The Olympic Games only leave DEBT behind in thier host city. The State and City finances are in enough trouble already.

The CTA has plenty of money to fix up the trains. It is their operating budget that is a problem. The two budgets are kept totally seperate. The Games would likely have little effect other than pissing locals off because their station is closed for upgrades.

Maybe I am confused: Why do we need anymore stadiums in this town?

Nuxrs / August 22, 2005 11:59 AM

I'll echo Stephen's sentiments......I think yes, we should, but no, I don't want to be here for it.

.....or I could open my apartment up to weary Antipodeans.....50 euros a night, fresh towels, coffee and toast for breakfast......

Ian / August 22, 2005 12:02 PM

Yes we should bid. For the following reasons:

It will promote Chicago on the world stage. First time visitors to Chicago, generally don’t know that much about the city, but always leave with a positive impression.

If development is focused in the right areas, we can improve the city. The 2012 games in London will help regenerate the Eastside, an economically poor and depressed area, by improving the infrastructure and creating a focus for investment. We can do the same.

It will cost money, but I think the potential benefits, with good planning, out way the costs.

steven / August 22, 2005 12:07 PM

What happens to all of these 'facilities' once the Olympics are over? I don't want any of these massive, underused and vacant buildings scattered around Chicago just because we needed someplace for the pole vaulting event. If a city can't already handle the demands of an event as huge as the Olympics, then don't bother.

Ian / August 22, 2005 12:07 PM

I forgot to add, lets get the Fordham Spire completed by 2016, to add to the attractions!


An old time Chicago booster!

sarah / August 22, 2005 12:17 PM

No. The Olympics _doesn't_ bring us anything but debt, crowds, garbage, and the like. Any small amount of "world prestige" would be lost when the standard Chicago way of doing things comes to light.

I think you're wrong in thinking the outlying areas wouldn't be affected...look at all the other Olympics...many times the venues have to be ten miles out for this or that reason. You can't tell me that someone isn't going to propose building a giant natatorium in Naperville or LaGrange.

red / August 22, 2005 1:02 PM

I moved up here from Atlanta and was there in '96. Public transit DID NOT improve (Marta sucks, always has), ticket prices were outrageous (we only got them b/c my parent's firm had a contract wiht GA Power), it was way too crowded, the homeless were pushed away and were pretty much non-existent during the whole affair, low-income housing was replaced by the Olympic Village without more public housing going up anywhere else (as far as I know)-but then the GA Tech area wasn't as scary of a place and it did provide some much needed dorms for GA State, the residents of the city were also pushed around. It was not a fun time.

Carrie / August 22, 2005 2:21 PM

I vote yes. I love the olympics. Couldn't we use Spaceship Soldier Field and The United Center for some events? I'm sure we'd waste millions building new places, but maybe by then we'll have a smart mayor who will think of using what we already have. Especially Spaceship Field since we blew a ton of money already on that thing.

Yesssss, bring on the Olympics!

Michael / August 22, 2005 2:25 PM

"And infrastructure improvements? Ha, I laugh in your face. Millenium Park cost upwards of $500 million dollars. Sculptures, exotic landscaping, funky bridges, ice skating....

Sell the bean. Save the CTA."

Great idea, Josh. Yet another moron who mimics what he hears without bothering to do the research himself...

As others have already pointed out, it was largely funded by private donations. Did you know that Millenium Park has ALREADY become the number one tourist destination in the city and is being upheld as a model urban park for cities worldwide? Again, do the research--it's just too easy to take potshots at the mayor when you think that's what everyone wants to hear...

Mister C / August 22, 2005 2:37 PM

I have the same reservations about the Olympics as others have expressed: debt, congestion, unused leftover facilities etc. etc.- but it's not like these are immutable laws or anything. Much of the debt comes from bad business and marketing decisions and congestion from a city not being big enough for it's infrastucture to handle an Olympic-sized event (was Atlanta really big enough, or did it bite off more than it could chew?). Plus Chicago is somewhere people already want to go visit (Atlanta is nice, but how many folks around the world dream about oneday going there?). I say what the hell, let's try for it. Granted, I'm a tour guide, but I don't know if I'll still be one (or even still kicking) by 2016.

Chicago is physically large with a good transportation/facilities infrastucture. How much new stuff would really be need to be built? Not only do we have Soldier Field, US Cellular Field, United Center, Allstate Arena, the Fire's upcoming facilities; but also all the various college facilities: UIC Pavillion, all of Northwestern's, DePaul's, Loyola's and the myriad other universities in the area. Plus the lakefront, river, parks, forest preserves, Lake Calumet and Wolf Lake- Cripes, even McCormick Place could be altered to host some things. No doubt there would have to be some expensive reconditioning of stuff, some things would have to be built, and it would be spread out somewhat- but it's the freakin' Olympics. It's just the kind of big, world class event Chicago has excelled at over it's history (Columbian Expo, Century of Progress). Corporations can be convinced to cough up much of the money (get some baddass rainmaker like John Bryan on board).

Would the traffic and hassle be much worse than when the Taste, the Cubs and Sox, the ALA at McCormick Place, and Next Fest at Navy Pier were all happening at once? Or the Air and Water Show? Or any of the many huge-ass events the city is known for? The CTA is a mess right now-but we're talking 2016 here.

Next summer's Gay Games will be a nice dry run to see if the city can handle an event like this. If that is a nightmare (which I don't think it will be because the local organizers seem to be on top of things) then we can beg off for 2016. But if it isn't, then we should give it a shot (and make the top Gay Games organizers in charge of the effort).

Baltimore / August 22, 2005 3:01 PM

So call me crazy, on crack or even dusted! But remember when you was a child and did something bad an yo Momma put you on punishment? Like no mo X until Y or no more Y until you clean up yo room boy! Well what about this? No mo sports America, until you clean up the big mess you made/making in Iraq? Yes, this would include the Summer Olympics, Monday Night foot ball, etc, etc. Perhaps they could have them in a real poor country like Chad that needs the business?
Extreme you say? Well at least I didn't say, No mo sports until we clean up the mess we have made/ are making in the whole wide world!

Maggie / August 22, 2005 5:10 PM


Mister C / August 22, 2005 5:35 PM

But Baltimore (and Maggie), screwing up the world is our national sport! Perhaps activities like Synchronized Kayak Twirling and such can divert our energies away from more lethal events like Petroleum-Based Fascist Empire Building. Besides, considering the Chicago City Council passed a resolution opposing The Iraq Attack way way back, can't Momma let us out to play?

Leelah / August 22, 2005 7:30 PM

Is that the winter olympics or the summer olympics?

Dutch / August 22, 2005 8:38 PM

Chicago should run, not walk, away from the Olympics. This city is already a world class destination, and has enough infrastructure already without cluttering up the city and suburbs with equestrian centers and shooting sports centers that will get NO use after the games. Chicago pretty consistently fills the hotels, restaurants and bars with a full menu of summer events (marathon, air and water show, taste, Lollapalooza, etc. etc.) without having near the DISRUPTIVE impact of the Olympics. Not to mention the tightrope that all host cities play with sinking into debt. Anyone who advocates having the Olympics in this city is fooling themselves (or has some perverse Olympic infatuation).

paul / August 23, 2005 8:07 AM

If Millennium park is our guide, we should be ready for the 2016 Olympics in 2020. Oh wait, we'll need another year or two to polish the olympic torch.

charlie / August 23, 2005 8:29 AM

Sure....why not?

Mister C wondered about Mt Biking?

Um well just give em all 54cm Surly Steamrollers,make em all wear Black socks and Dickies cut off at the calf,mirrored aviator sunglasses,a chrome bag, a t-shirt size too small of course, a chain wallet,pumas,really fat watch bands and three bucks.

Line them all up at The Skylark, make em chug 3 PBR's eat a vegan polish sausage,with no map and see who gets to the corner of Howard and Paulina first.

Now that would be a Chi Town classic

Steve / August 23, 2005 9:26 AM

We in Chicago could do wonders with something like a World's Fair, with a single destination for all events. But the Olympics don't work that way -- they'd require the use of the United Center, Soldiers Field, a new swimming facility, a new mega-stadium to host 100K+ for the ceremonies, at least one of our baseball stadiums, the facilities at UIC, Northwestern, etc. Could our little transit system handle this, especially with several of these destinations not on el lines? Is there a smart way to upgrade the system in a mere decade?

And the security...could the alewives thwart the terrorist frogmen?

JL / December 23, 2005 11:58 AM

HA HA.. GOOD LUCK CHICAGO! Be the next Atlanta.. a FLOP! City would have to build a venue large enough to host at LEAST 100,000 people for the Opening Ceremony.. What is the point of building stadiums that may possibly never be used after the Olympiad.. Is Chicago prepared to make such a large investment just for the spotlight.. and when you're in that spotlight.. the world is watching your every move.. Don't jack this one up.. Leave the Olympics to Los Angeles. A city that can host the Olympiad with the construction of 1 venue.. No tax dollar contribution.. and with it's last profit of 235 Million Dollars.. It makes sense that LA should host the Olympics.. Aside from that.. LA has great weather.. I'd FLY to LA to see the olympics!!!

Jay / December 23, 2005 6:48 PM

Let's go back 15 years, implode Comisky Park and Soldiers field, and build a mega dome stadium for 100,000 people. Now, it's a waste unless they bring a 2nd football team to town. Chicago Saints? Not likely.

Michael / August 26, 2006 11:47 PM

I think a lot of you saying no are pesimists. Yeah there might be dept. But does it ever seem like the city isn't having some problem with funding. And even for what the city has to pay for, there is so much money coming from private donations, and sponsors. We won't have to pay for lots of transportation (hopefully a circle line though), we have lots of already built facilities. And the facilities we need to built already have usess for after the games, a aquatics facility can be used in future events, for area schools, and public use. The olympic village can be sold to private investors as normal homes, and business. The main stadium is definatly planned to be perminant, otherwise nothing much else would have to be built.

To add to the benifits, it would showcase the greatness of the city to world, I think LA, and New York have overshadowed us to long. We also have plenty of hotel space, and ways for travelers to enter the city.

I say let the games begin.

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