||[Mar. 6th, 2007|09:47 pm]
The Chicago 2016 Olympics. Stir the Soul.
I'll start off with a story about the current Chicago visit by the USOC written earlier today in the Chicago Sun-Times. Keep an eye out here for more news articles and my thoughts. If you wish to deliver your own opinions, help yourself. Until then, 2016 or bust.|
'The biggest moment' is now
Olympic scout team begins two-day Chicago visit today
March 6, 2007
BY ANDREW HERRMANN Staff Reporter [Sun-Times]
Chicago's 2016 dreams of hosting the Summer Games will get some 2007 scrutiny today as an Olympic scout team begins its two-day visit here.
Patrick Ryan, chair of the Chicago 2016 bid committee, called the visit "the biggest moment of the process" to win the U.S. nod to compete internationally for the games.
So why should the United States Olympic Committee vote on April 14 for Chicago over Los Angeles?
Local officials are arguing a Chicago Olympics would provide:
1. Less drive time
The Olympic Village, a $1.1 billion facility to be built near McCormick Place, would be within 15 minutes of nearly 90 percent of the competition venues. Los Angeles' venues are spread out, with the swimming venue in Long Beach about 30 miles away from the Olympic housing at UCLA.
2. A workable new stadium
Chicago's games would feature an 80,000-seat, $366 million temporary stadium in Washington Park that would include room outside for fans unable to secure tickets to gather and watch on large screens. Los Angeles would use a refurbished Los Angeles Coliseum, originally opened in 1923.
3. Legacy projects
After the games are over, the Olympic Village would provide 5,000 units of market-rate and affordable housing and hotels. After dismantling the Washington Park track and field venue, a 5,000-seat "Ravinia-esque" amphitheater would remain. Another legacy would be an aquatics center built near the University of Illinois at Chicago. Most of L.A.'s venues are already built.
4. Accessible transportation
The CTA and Metra would hold down highway travel. O'Hare welcomes more than 76 million passengers a year with service to 224 cities worldwide.
5. Local excitement
Last week, a fund-raiser at McCormick Place raised $9.4 million, bringing the total to $30 million contributed by Chicago corporations and foundations. A Chicago 2016 poll found 80 percent of Cook County residents favor hosting the Olympics.
Meanwhile in L.A. . . .
Last week, the scout team, an 11-member evaluation commission from the USOC, visited L.A.
Southern California officials contended that because most of their venues are already built, they could concentrate on creating a games through their Hollywood expertise that would attract the younger audience that has been growing disinterested in the Olympics.
Asked about that argument Monday, Ryan said, "I don't think it's our responsibility to correct things in the Olympic Games. It's our responsibility be a great host city."
L.A. officials felt they needed to convince the group, which will make recommendations to the decision-making USOC board, that Southern California's infamous traffic wouldn't jam up a games held there.
Ryan said Chicago's "soft spot" is explaining how the Village, to be built by developers, and the temporary stadium, covered by developer fees and Olympic revenues, are viable plans.
Today, the evaluation group will meet in Soldier Field to grill the bid organizers on details in Chicago's bid book, covering everything from marketing and medical services, to environment and technology. The Olympic group will also view a film touting Chicago before being feted tonight at the Art Institute.
On Wednesday, they will be bused from the Hilton Chicago hotel, 720 S. Michigan, to a number of venues and sites of proposed venues.
Ed Hula, editor of Around the Rings, which covers the business of the Olympics, said Chicago's task is to convince the group "they can deliver."
New York was the American pick for the 2012 games but its stadium plan collapsed financially, knocking the United States out of international competition.
"That's very much on the minds of the USOC," said Hula. "Chicago has to show them some pretty serious plans they can back up," said Hula.
WHO ARE WE DEALING WITH?
The USOC Candidate City Evaluation Commission is chaired by Bob Ctvrtlik, a Long Beach, Calif., native who is a three-time volleyball Olympian, a USOC vice president and International Olympic Committee member. The scout team will report to the USOC board and could recommend one city over another, Ctvrtlik has said.
Other members are:
-Architect Jerry Anderson, an expert in temporary venues. He has been the coordinating architect for 21 Super Bowls with HOK Event.
-Paralympian Ann Cody, a former University of Illinois wheelchair basketball player who won the Chicago Marathon in her division from 1989 to 1991.
-California native Chris Duplanty, a water polo Olympian and a USOC official.
-Cindy Gillespie, former director of federal government relations for the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympic Games.
-George Hirthler, a USOC senior strategic adviser who has worked on eight international Olympic bid campaigns.
-Sharon Kingman helped implement telecommunications operations for Atlanta in 1996 and was the managing director of telecommunications for Salt Lake City in 2002.
-Rick Ludwig, a member of the IOC's 2010 Evaluation Commission team, was the senior financial planning executive for Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
-Olympic gymnastics silver medalist and USOC board member Jair Lynch, who operates a Washington D.C.-based real estate development and construction firm.
-Mike Plant, a USOC board member and speed-skating Olympian, is a vice president with the Atlanta Braves baseball team.
-Stephanie Streeter, a USOC board member is a former chief executive officer of the Wisconsin-based Banta Corp. and onetime collegiate basketball player.
Also in Chicago is the CEO of the USOC, Jim Scherr, a former Olympic wrestler. He is the twin brother of Bill Scherr, chairman of World Sport Chicago, an organization funded by the Chicago 2016 Olympic committee. Bill Scherr has said there is no conflict because Jim does not have a selection vote.
Today: Mayor Daley and Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick G. Ryan greet the USOC Evaluation Commission at Soldier Field. It begins closed meetings examining Chicago's written plan. They'll also view a film made touting Chicago. At night, they'll have dinner at the Art Institute.
Wednesday: Bus leaves Hotel Hilton for tours of venue sites, including proposed Olympic Village near McCormick Place and Washington Park stadium.
March-April: Follow-up questions and answers exchanged between bid cities and USOC.
April 14: Cities make final pitch. USOC board votes; announces winning city.
Sept. 15: Applications due to the International Olympic Committee. Other cities possibly in running include Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid.
Oct. 2009: IOC announces winner in Copenhagen, Denmark