Chicago 2016 Olympic bid

Olympic bid|2016|Summer

winner =
runner-up =
shortlisted1 = Chicago
shortlisted2 = Madrid
shortlisted3 = Rio de Janeiro
shortlisted4 = Tokyo
fullname = Chicago, United States
committee = United States Olympic Committee (USOC)
history = None
(It was elected to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but they were transferred to St. Louis in a 14-2 vote of the IOC).cite book |title=Who's who at the Olympics |author=Kamper, Erich; Mallon, Bill |year=1992]
result =
score =
notes =
The Chicago 2016 Olympic bid is the attempt by the city of Chicago and the United States- with the support of other cities, townships and villages in the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin- to be chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. In the event of Chicago being selected by the IOC, the 2016 Games will be the first Summer Olympics held in the Americas since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

On June 4, 2008, Chicago was named one of four finalists for the 2016 Olympic games. [cite web|url=,0,6779343.story|accessdate=2008-06-04|date=2008-06-04|title=Chicago one of four finalists for 2016 Olympics|publisher=Chicago Tribune] The final selection will be made on October 2 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark.cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-04-18|publisher=City of Chicago|date=2007|author=Chicago 2016 Committee|title=Bid Information] Currently, Chicago's rival cities for the hosting of the Games are Madrid, Spain; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo, Japan. [cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-10-17|date=2007-09-14|title=Seven Applicant NOCs/ Cities for the 2016 Games|publisher=International Olympic Committee]

If Chicago is chosen, the games will be held from July 22 to August 7, with the Paralympics held between August 18 and August 28. This will be the 5th time for the modern Summer Olympics to be held in the United States, more than any other nation.

Initially, five US cities expressed interest in bidding for the 2016 Olympics: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The USOC's chairman, Peter Ueberroth, visited potential host cities during April and May 2006. Chicago was visited on May 10. On July 26, 2006, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) narrowed its list of applicant cities to three: Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.cite news |url= |title=Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco On USOC 2016 Olympic Bid Short List |publisher=GamesBids |date=2006-07-26 |accessdate=2007-04-17] The last dropped out from the running on November 13, 2006.cite news |url= |title=San Francisco Reluctantly Withdraws 2016 Olympic Bid |publisher=GamesBids |date=2006-11-13 |accessdate=2007-04-17]

The final stage of the USOC internal selection occurred on April 14 2007, at Washington, D.C.'s Embassy Row Hotel, where each bid team made a last 40-minute presentation to the USOC board members.cite news |url= |title=U.S. 2016 Candidate – Chicago Or Los Angeles? |publisher=GamesBids |date=2007-04-13 |accessdate=2007-04-17] At about 9:00 pm UTC, Chicago was announced as the United States bid for the 2016 Olympic Games by USOC President Peter Ueberroth.cite news |url= |title=Chicago picked by USOC to bid for 2016 Olympics |accessdate=2007-04-14 |last=Peters |first=Ken |date=2007-04-14 |work=Olympics |publisher=Yahoo! Sports]

Bid details

Chicago is no newcomer to Olympic bids. In 1901, the city was unanimously chosen by the IOC to stage the 1904 Summer Olympics, [cite journal |url= |title=Les Jeux Olympiques de 1904 |journal=Revue Olympique |author=Comité International Olympique |issue=3 |pages=30–4 |year=1901 |month=July |format=PDF |language=French |accessdate=2007-04-12] but the Games were moved to St. Louis to coincide with the 1904 World's Fair.cite web |url= |title=The 1904 Olympics: St. Louis, Missouri |publisher=Hickok Sports |accessdate=2007-04-17] Chicago also bid for the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics, without success.cite web |url= |title=Olympic Bid Election History |publisher=GamesBids |accessdate=2007-04-17] The bidding process for the 2016 Olympic Games was officially launched on May 16 2007.

On January 152008 the details of the Olympic bid application were announced. [cite web|url=|title=Newsletters |accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Chicago 2016, City of Chicago, Applicant City, 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games] 22 of the 27 Olympic venues will be in four clusters within 15 km of the Olympic Village. Five new venues and eleven temporary venues will be built for the games. The bid costs ($49.3 million) are being borne by the private sector as are the costs of the games. The cost of the infrastructure will be financed by the government. [cite web|url=|title=Chicago's 2016 Olympic Bid Details Are Released|accessdate=2008-01-19|date=2008-01-15|publisher=Menscerto Inc.]

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley visited Beijing – host city of the 2008 Summer Olympics – on May 15 2006, where he collected information on hosting.

Chicago's chances for hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics are bolstered by preliminary commitments made by major corporations and wealthy Chicago philanthropists; promised participation in the planning process by community and government leaders and the enthusiasm of the citizenry. Local support for the bid on the South Side, particularly in the Washington Park and Woodlawn community areas, is divided. Some opposition has grown as the city continues to ignore simple issues like returning garbage cans to the parks in the area after they were replaced with recycle bins when the USOC visited.cite web|url= |title= Talking Trash |accessdate= |accessmonthday=June 23 |accessyear=2007 |author= Chikat|last= |first= |date= |year=2007 |month=March 15 |format= |work= YoChicago |language=English ] However, opinion polls indicate that public support is 76 percent. [Chicago Bid book, page 53. Survey by Zogby International, April 2007] Most importantly, the city's existing infrastructure and venue options are substantial and equal other top contenders like Madrid and Tokyo. Peter Ueberroth stated, "Chicago is going in the right direction, and we are impressed by that."cite web|url= |title= And the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in (read the story to find out) |accessdate= |accessmonthday=March 18 |accessyear=2007 |author= |last= |first= |date= |year=2007 |month=January 26 |format= |work= Sports Business News |language=English ]

In June 2007, Olympic bid committee Chairman and CEO, Patrick G. Ryan announced that David P. Bolger was appointed chief operating officer and Rick Ludwig as chief financial officer. [cite press release
title = Chicago 2016 Announces New Chief Operating Officer, Other Senior Staff Appointments
date = 2007-06-28
url =
accessdate = 2006-07-04

Michael Jordan has become an unofficial spokesman for Chicago's bid.cite web|url= |title=USOC to decide on 2016 Olympic bid city |accessdate= |accessmonthday=April 16 |accessyear=2007|author= |last=Gomez |first=Brian |date= |year=2007 |month=April 10 |work=The Gazette |language=English ] Chicago media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Olympic champion Michael Phelps have been widely promoting the bid since the 2008 Summer Olympics. [ [ Chicago 2016 News – Nike, Phelps, Oprah] ] [ [ Olympic Champion Michael Phelps Celebrates With Chicago 2016] ]


Ueberroth and members of the national committee met with Daley on May 10 2006, for the initial assessment. Daley appointed business executive Patrick G. Ryan of Aon Corporation, part-owner of the Chicago Bears, to lead the city's bid process, especially in areas of corporate participation in fundraising. In previous years, Daley opposed possible bids for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games owing to former international committee financial-guarantee requirements. Those requirements have been relaxed in favor of a new philosophy in which the Olympic Games would become smaller in terms of construction and related costs.Fact|date=February 2007 Early cost estimates hover at $5 billion, with $1.1 billion needed for the lakeside Olympic Village and an additional estimated $366 million for a temporary 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium to be built in Washington Park.cite web|url=,CST-NWS-oly24.article|title= With or Without the Games: Daley Plans New Land, Housing Even if We Don't Get the Games |accessdate= |accessmonthday=April 17 |accessyear=2007 |author= |last= |first= |date= |year=2007 |month=January 24 |format= |work= Chicago Sun-Times|language=English ] Nonetheless, the proposed budget compares unfavorably to the costs of the Beijing Olympics, which are estimated to have cost $40 billion.cite news|url=|accessdate=2008-08-22|date=2008-08-22|title=Big Olympic spend, but little debate|author=Michael Bristow|publisher=BBC|work=BBC] Further, the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, initially budgeted to cost $2.4 billion, in fact cost $9 billion. cite news|url=|accessdate=2008-08-22|date=2005-12-26|title=Beijing eyes Games profit in 2008|author=|publisher=BBC|work=BBC] On April 11 2007, Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proposed $150 million in state funding to help secure the bid to the USOC for Chicago. As of the announcement on April 14, over $35 million in cash and $13 million in goods have been pledged, including donations in excess of $100,000 from at least 225 individuals and corporations.cite web|url=|title=Chicago to Bid for 2016 Olympics|accessdate= |accessmonthday=April 17 |accessyear=2007|author=Abrahamson, Alan|date= |year=2007 |month=April 14 |format= | |language=English ] Chicago has strong allies to pursue federal funds for security and transportation due to its high profile U.S. Senators.cite news|url=|title=COO, CFO being recruited for Olympic bid|accessdate=2007-04-21|date=2007-04-19|author=Merrion, Paul|work=ChicagoBusiness|publisher=Crain Communications, Inc.] Dick Durbin is the 2nd in command among Democratic Senators as the Whip, and Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee in the 2008 Presidential Election. The city has announced a $500 million insurance policy against cost overruns and revenue shortfalls.cite news|url=|accessdate=2007-04-20|date=2007-04-14|title=USOC picks Chicago for 2016 Olympic bid|author=Hinz, Greg|publisher=Crain Communications, Inc.|work=ChicagoBusiness]


Despite the lack of an Olympic stadium, Chicago has dozens of existing sport venues: Soldier Field, United Center, U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field, Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, and Toyota Park in Bridgeview. Venues at Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago State University, and Northern Illinois University, among others, are also available and have been mentioned in early news reports as possibilities. Navy Pier and the lakefront along Lake Michigan would host all beach and water events. The McCormick Place convention center, the second largest in the world, is the planned venue for indoor events like judo and gymnastics, as well as hosting all press offices, while
Archery and the medals podium are slated for Millennium Park. Other regional mayors have offered venues in Indiana and Wisconsin, including use of the University of Notre Dame's facilities. TCF Bank Stadium, a stadium under construction on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, may also be used for preliminary soccer matches. [cite web|url= |title=New football stadium might help U host 2016 Olympic soccer |accessdate= |accessmonthday=January 13 |accessyear=2007|author= |last=Fuller |first=Marcus |date= |year=2007 |month=January 12 |publisher=St. Paul Pioneer Press |language=English ] Swimming events would be held in the West Side's Douglas Park.


The Monroe Harbor will be enlarged with a $60-million breakwater to accommodate an approximately 2-mile course for rowing events. [cite web|url=
] cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-04-21|title=Glitz, guarantees added to Olympic bid|author=Hinz, Greg|date=2007-01-23|publisher=Crain Communications, Inc.|work=ChicagoBusiness] This will enable rowing competitions to take place on a course running from Northerly Island to about Randolph Street. This course would feature a picturesque Chicago Loop skyline backdrop for television viewing, which by 2016 would include the Chicago Spire. [cite web|url=
] In order to accommodate the Olympics, all non-Olympic watercraft would be required to vacate Monroe Harbor for a year. Canoeing events will be held in the former location of Meigs Field on Northerly Island by the Adler Planetarium. Historically, this site staged some venues for the 1933 World's Fair.


The Olympic Stadium will be in Washington Park, a site on the National Register of Historic Places in the Chicago community area of the same name on the city's south side. Chicago initially proposed building a temporary 80,000-seat track stadium adjacent to Soldier Field and having the two stadiums host dual Opening and Closing Ceremonies. [cite web|url= |title=Chicago 2016 Plan Includes Two Stadiums |accessdate= |accessmonthday=April 14 |accessyear=2007 |date= |year=2006 |month=July 13 |format= | |language=English ] [cite web|url= |title=A new plan for 2016 Games; 2-stadium plan out; city considering temporary facility |accessdate= |accessmonthday=April 14 |accessyear=2007 |date= |year=2006 |month=August 17 |format= | |language=English ] However, the final proposal called for a $366 million temporary stadium to be built in Washington Park. The stadium will be replaced by a 10,000 seat multi-use venue after the games. The smaller post-Olympic stadium will be more in line with public interest in restoring the historic park after the games. The new stadium will feature a high-tech reflective sheathing material to accommodate huge TV pictures projections on its outside walls. The temporary stadium would not have concessions inside the stadium unlike permanent local venues, although concessions are planned outside the stadium. [cite web|url=
] cite web|url=
] The stadium will feature a basic oval shape, but it will also adhere to Olympic design rules which dictate that there must be an overhanging lip at one end to cover dignitaries and the media. IOC president Jacques Rogge praised Chicago's design in November 2007 as a possible "blueprint for the future". This reflects the desire of the IOC to make the games both more affordable and to have a smaller ecological footprint on the host city. [ [ Chicago 2016 Stadium Plan Praised By IOC President] ]

Olympic Village

The Olympic Village used to house athletes during the games will be a $1.1-billion series of newly constructed lakefront buildings that will be then converted to rental and condominium units after the games. The village will be located immediately south of McCormick Place, which is expected to host 11 event venues, on a current truck parking lot between South Lake Shore Drive and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks in the Near South Side and Douglas community areas. Currently, the parking lot is used to stage events at McCormick Place. The village will have pedways over Lake Shore Drive.cite web|url=
] [cite web|url=
] [cite web|url=
] This location will enable 88% of the Olympic athletes to be within 15 minutes of their competition venue.

The city will borrow $85 million to buy the Michael Reese Hospital campus, near 31st and King Drive, from its current owner, Medline Industries. Medline will only get $65 million, because the company agreed to make a $20 million “charitable contribution” back to the city. The city will use that $20 million to pay up to five years of interest on its $85 million debt, demolish the hospital, and clean up the 37-acre site. Then sometime in the next couple years it will sell the site for at least $85 million to a developer or developers, who in turn will build a complex big enough to house about 15,000 Olympians. After the games the developer will sell or rent out the units. [cite web | url = | title = Magic Beans: The mayor’s new Olympic Village plan would bet taxpayer dollars on risky real estate speculation. | first = Ben | last = Joravsky | work = Chicago Reader | date = 2008-07-24 | accessdate=2008-08-04]

ports culture

Chicago benefits from a strong sports culture. On August 1 2006, it was named "Best Sports City" in the US by "Sporting News".cite web|url= |title=Best Sports Cities 2006: Welcome back, Chicago |accessdate= |accessmonthday=April 14 |accessyear=2007 |date= |year=2006 |month=August 1 |format= | |language=English ] Chicagoans are famous for their rabid support of their home teams: the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Wolves, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, and more recently, Chicago Rush, Chicago Fire, and the Chicago Machine. Other events such as the Chicago Marathon, one of the largest marathon events worldwide, will also play a part in Chicago's Olympic-planning process.


Chicago has hosted major and historic world gatherings in the past, including the famous 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition and the 1959 Pan American Games, as well as matches for the 1994 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Chicago has also hosted the most United States presidential nominating conventions.cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-03-28|date=2005|author=Sautter, R. Craig|publisher=Chicago Historical Society|title=Political Conventions|work=The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago] Chicago was scheduled to host the 1904 Summer Olympics, but the games were instead relocated to St. Louis to coincide with its Louisiana Purchase Exposition, more commonly known as the Saint Louis World's Fair. Chicago has never been content with its distinction as one of the few cities to have an Olympic Games taken away, and this historical issue could play to Chicago's favor.Fact|date=August 2007

Chicago was also the first host of the Special Olympics in 1968.

More recently, Chicago hosted the Gay Games VII in July 2006, and the 2007 AIBA Boxing Championships in October 2007. The championships are a qualifying event for the 2008 Summer Olympics and a chance for Chicago to showcase its staging skills to IOC members. [ [ Successful Boxing Championships Could Promote Chicago 2016 Bid] ] AIBA head Dr. Ching-kuo Wu enthused the tournament was the "best ever", especially considering the short six-month lead time Chicago had to organize the games. [,0,4304738.story Chicago wins style points] ]


On May 16, 2007, Chicago was informed that its logo, a representation of a torch with the flames reminiscent of Chicago's skyline, violated IOC rules against using Olympic torch imagery. ] Bidding rules prohibit logos containing the Olympic symbol, motto, flag or other imagery including a flame, torch or medal. ] Chicago agreed to revise the logo. [cite news|url=,1,2544628.story?coll=chi-news-hed|title=Chicago ordered to dump Olympics logo|accessdate=2007-05-16|date=2007-05-16|publisher=Chicago Tribune|author=Hersh, Philip|work=Chicago Tribune] The current redesigned logo was released on September 19, 2007. Using the same color palette, a unique six-pointed "Chicago star" represents a compass pointing in all directions reaching out to the world. Each point represents an Olympic value: Hope, Respect, Harmony, Friendship, Excellence and Celebration. [ [ Chicago 2016 Unveils Logo – Six-Point Star] ] The warm colors initially represented in the flame (or top) of the image refer to the sun, the cool colors represent the green parklands and blue waters of Lake Michigan.

It has been proposed by Chicago City Council alderman Edward Burke that a fifth star be added to the Flag of Chicago if the city wins its bid for the Olympic games in 2016.cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-09-06|date=2007-06-22|title=Chicago Flag May Get New Star If Olympics Come|publisher=CBS Broadcasting, Inc.]

Bid factors

It is expected that Chicago's world-class architecture, renowned skyline, multi-cultural, historical, and pop-cultural contributions will be positive factors as the Olympics bid is weighed.Fact|date=April 2007

The city also boasts significant transportation infrastructure. The Chicago Transit Authority operates a vast network of buses and elevated 'L' trains, and the region also boasts an extensive commuter rail service (Metra) that connects more than 230 suburban destinations to Chicago. These transportation options allow public transit access to the Games for city residents and people throughout northeastern Illinois into northern Indiana and southern Wisconsin. Additionally, the city is served by two major airports, O'Hare and Midway, along with the outlying General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and Gary, Indiana's Gary/Chicago International Airport. O'Hare is a major international hub for both American and United Airlines, and Midway is a hub of sorts for domestic carrier Southwest Airlines. There is also a considerable network of rail lines and interstate highways in the region.

Chicago is strong in accommodations; the city of Chicago has over 30,000 hotel rooms in the immediate downtown area [ [ Choose Chicago - the official visitors site for Chicago | Industry Statistics ] ] and has the largest skilled-labor workforce in the U.S. catering to conventions and other large-scale media events.

Chicago's geographic location also counts in its favor. Its central position within the United States means that its time zone is well-suited to North American television coverage. The NBC television network and its sister cable broadcasters is by far the largest media vendor and contract purchaser of the Olympic Games. [ [,0,3550508.story Tokyo takes Chicago tack] ]

One of the strongest critics of the Chicago 2016 bid has been "Chicago Reader" columnist Ben Joravsky. [cite web|url=|title=A City Off Track: Amid the Olympics fervor, local athletes are still getting shortchanged|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2008-04-17|publisher=Creative Loafing Media|work=Chicago Reader|author=Joravsky, Ben] [cite web|url=|title=A Promise Made to Be Broken: Could a 20,000-seat Olympic field hockey arena really leave Jackson Park unspoiled?|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2007-10-04|publisher=Creative Loafing Media|work=Chicago Reader|author=Joravsky, Ben] [cite web|url=|title=Thar She Blows: The white whale lurking behind the mayor’s new tax increases|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2007-10-25|publisher=Creative Loafing Media|work=Chicago Reader|author=Joravsky, Ben] [cite web|url=|title=Think Smaller: While Chicago courts the Olympics, future Olympians practice in school hallways.|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2007-04-20|publisher=Creative Loafing Media|work=Chicago Reader|author=Joravsky, Ben] [cite web|url=|title=Magic Beans: The mayor’s new Olympic Village plan would bet taxpayer dollars on risky real estate speculation.|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2008-07-24|publisher=Creative Loafing Media|work=Chicago Reader|author=Joravsky, Ben] [cite web|url=|title=It’s All About the Olympics: Why is the Park District clamping down on its volunteer advisers?|accessdate=2008-08-04|date=2008-04-03|publisher=Creative Loafing Media|work=Chicago Reader|author=Joravsky, Ben]

Trademark controversy

A trademark controversy has arisen for "" as well as "". Both have been registered by entrepreneur Steve Frayne, who claimed the domains in 2004, as well as up to 40 other domain names with a similar city/year format which mimics the way Olympic Games are marketed. Frayne's stated intent for the site is a "comprehensive, balanced discussion" of the benefits and pitfalls of holding the Olympics in Chicago; the Chicago 2016 committee contends that his real intent is to profit from cybersquatting.cite web|url=|title=Chicago 2016: Who Owns the Conversation?| author=Buitrago, Katie | work = Chicago Reader | date = 2008-09-25 | accessdate=2008-10-06] Attempts by the USOC to have the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) release the names has failed and it will now be up to U.S. Federal courts to rule, which could take months or years.

The Olympic bid candidature documentation published by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) states that each bid must "...provide documentation indicating that appropriate measures have been taken to register domain names that are of value to your candidature such as ' [City] 2016' followed by extensions .com .net .org as well as the country code concerned."

Rio de Janiero has control of "", which they registered in 2003 while bidding for the 2012 Summer Olympics. [ Chicago 2016 Dot-Com-troversy Heats Up] ]


Chicago was expected to make the Candidate city shortlist in June 2008. Its technical ranking by the IOC was 7.0; generally beyond the 6.0 minimum threshold, but trailing behind Tokyo and Madrid's bids. (It should be noted that technical qualities are only part of the final selection process).

USOC head Peter Ueberroth has contended that Chicago is in "third or fourth place," with a need to focus more on the international relations rather than just having a strong technical bid. [ [ USOC Head Says Chicago 2016 Needs To Change Emphasis] ] Nevertheless, with Chicago's strong hosting of the AIBA Boxing Championships which exposed the city to many IOC members, the city was cited as a current favorite, and one member claims the Games are "theirs to lose." [ IOC Member Assesses Olympic Bids] ] Chicago also successfully hosted the 2006 Gay Games, another multinational sporting event. Both events were planned with short lead times.

Although there is no official IOC rotation policy, the Americas have an edge to host since previous games will have been held in Asia, Europe, and Australia: London, Beijing, Athens, and Sydney. Besides Chicago, candidate city Rio has an equal edge of being located in the Americas as well as the advantage of being in South America, a region which has never hosted. Although not as strong in infrastructure, Rio is identified as a "dark horse" that can ride away with the competition.

Chicago may also have hurdles in overcoming animosity due to US policies in Iraq as well as President George W. Bush (although he will no longer be in office at time of the vote). In a long standing dispute with the IOC, some IOC members also resent the large share of revenue taken by the United States Olympic Committee; [Phillip Hersh, "Chicago Tribune", "Chicago in 8-City Race for Olympics", Sept 13, 2007] the USOC has recently made headway in negotiating progress for a viable solution.

External links

* [] — Official bid website
** [ link to download bid book]
* [] — Official website of the Chicago African American Olympic Committee
* [] — A "comprehensive, balanced discussion" of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid; not affiliated with the official Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee.


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