You may have noticed the icons in the upper right of my website. As issues change and responsibilities differ, these cryptic icons will change. In most cases, you will have to click on them to see what they are about, because I like the mystery of it and getting you involved. However, I haven’t talked about them, but now is the time.
The placement of the icons is directly related to how long the icon will be on my site. The icon to the further right has a longer lifespan than an icon on the left. So, let me start with the farther right icon.
If you don’t know, this is the icon for Chicago 2016, the official web site and group working to land the 2016 Olympics in Chicago. From today, there are 342 days until the Decision of where the 2016 Olympics will be. Chicago is one of four cities in the running. The others are Madrid (Spain), Rio de Janerio (Brazil), and Tokyo (Japan).
It is my opinion that Chicago has the best chance to land the Olympics of these four cities. Here are my reasons to exclude the others.
- Madrid: If Madrid was offered the Games, that means the Olympics would be in a European country two times in a row (London is hosting the 2012 Games). The Olympic committee tries very hard to make sure the entire world feels and witnesses the Olympics. I would be very shocked if Europe got the Olympics twice in a row for this reason.
- Rio de Janeiro: What Rio de Janeiro has going against it is that it has a lot going for it right now. Rio hosted the 2007 Pan American Games, a huge event that shows it can pull off, well, huge events. In 2014, Brazil is hosting the football (soccer to most of us) World Cup, an every four year event, and that is huge. Will the Olympic Committee choose to honor Rio with another huge event? My gut says no. However, they are a contender because a South American city has never hosted the Olympics.
- Tokyo: Tokyo had the Olympic Games of 1964. That means it would be 52 years between this Japanese city hosting the Olympics (keep this in mind for later). They have a very impressive offering, and especially since the 2008 Beijing (China) Games were so successful, Tokyo has a lot of momentum to build on. Tokyo is the top competitor to Chicago.
So, that brings us back to Chicago, and why they have the best chance. First of all (and most important to me), Chicago was awarded the Olympics before. The Windy City was supposed to host the 1904 Olympics, but those Games were moved to St. Louis to coincide with the World Fair (does this thing exist anymore?) that was going on there. So, we have a great city which very obviously can pull off a large event, that has never really hosted a worldwide type of event, but was supposed to over 100 years ago. Chicago also put forward unsuccessful bids for the Games in 1952 and 1956.
The Chicago plan includes using a lot of existing venues, but more importantly, building new venues, parks, and villages that have great use in the future to rejuvenate some of the areas of Chicago that could really use a lot of improvements and attention. The Olympic Village, to house the athletes, will be a $1.1 billion dollar effort along Lake Michigan, and this will be turned into apartment rentals and condominiums after the game. Further, the brand new Olympic Stadium, which will seat over 80,000 people in Washington Park, will be renovated to a 10,000 people multi-use stadium after the Games. This will be more in line with public interest in restoring the historic park.
And, most importantly to me, the Games in Chicago will be near Wisconsin. This means it may the one chance of my lifetime to actually go to the Olympic Games. Melody, Kasimir, Augustus, and Leverett (who will be almost 8 by then), can take a day trip to Chicago and see the wonders of a united planet. True athletic competition. And while I won’t be able to afford tickets to the awe-inspiring opening and closing ceremonies, maybe we can get into a less visited venue, collect some memorabilia, or just hang out and take it all in.
I am really excited about this, and if you are not, you need to get excited! Visit the Chicago2016.org web site. Link from your website. Donate. Tell your friends about it. Buy the merchandise. Tell your family. Don’t let this once in a lifetime experience slip by without doing something about it.
The Olympics are amazing to watch on TV. Just start to imagine how amazing they can be in real life!