Friday, September 11, 2009


This morning I read yet another in the seemingly endless news reports regarding the possibility of Chicago being awarded the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Apparently Obama has made no plans no attend the conference in Copenhagen next month to make a final push to bring the games to his adopted hometown. This is either confidence on his part, that it's all but a done deal, although I like to think he has more pressing concerns at the moment. That being said, the heads of state for the other candidates, Madrid, Rio and Tokyo will be present.

Despite the incessant local media coverage, which focuses almost exclusively on the financial aspect of putting on the games (and rightfully so), the 2016 Olympic bid doesn't seem that major of a topic of discussion amongst ordinary Chicagoans; to wit, my friends and I rarely discuss the possibility. And when it does become a topic of discussion, audible groans emanate from anyone within earshot. This reluctance is the result of many factors, of which I will discuss in a moment.

The fact remains, we shall learn of our fate in no less than 20 days, October 2, to be exact. And assuming we get them...2016 might seem like a long way aways, but really, IT'S ONLY 6 YEARS. If I was to take the temperature of Chicagoans, and I won't pretend to, but if I had to guess, it seems most people have resigned themselves to the probability that we will get them.

Now, under most circumstances, being awarded perhaps the most prestigious events, one that puts it's host city on a world stage, would seem like an unqualified windfall - providing benefits both tangible (i.e. economic) and not (i.e. pride). People in the far corners of the world will suddenly learn how to pronounce the word "Chicago", and that's pretty dope. Overall it's a massive boner of an ego boast.

All that being said, if you asked me right now if I, as a resident of Chicago want the 2016 Games, my answer would be easy: NO FUCKIN' WAY! Here's why...

Our infamous Overload, I mean, Mayor Richard J. Daley likes to make statements like "tax money isn't paying for it". He also suspects the games will make money for the city. We eat a lot of his shit, but how he was able to say that in front of reports and news cameras, with a straight face...boggles my tiny mind. Give me a fucking break. Every time Daley wants to build something GRAND, the city taxpayers always ends up getting raped in the ear to help pay for the "unintended" cost over runs. In fact, the city council just gave Daley a "blank check".

From an economic perspective this can be viewed as a tremendous benefit, as it will certainly create a lot of jobs. And that's great - and I'll be happy to dig a ditch or pour concrete (or really anything short of prostitution at this point). But can you imagine what a CLUSTER-FUCK this city would become? The amount of work that would have to take place to get ready, in only 6 years will effectively hold us residents hostage, not to mention people that visit here. Ultimately, there will be positive, and much needed improvements to our infrastructure will be made. But pushing 20+ years of projects into a 6 year time frame...DISASTER a la Cloverfield.

They call this the "City That Works", in fact, that robust slogan used to be painted on the sides of every CTA rail car back in the 70's/80's. It's was a farce then and is now. Ever traveled on the Kennedy Expressway, from O'Hare to Downtown on a Friday afternoon? Case in point. If you think traveling 15 miles should take in excess of hour, well, have I got a city for you! The Red Line trains at Rush Hour? Dear Lord. My point is, if they expect to cram a few more million visitors into a city that barely transports the people that are already here, well, that's going to take a lot of work (see above).

For all the reasons listed above, the 2016 Games will provide ever so many ways for our city, county and state politicians to line their pockets. I imagine that every night any local politician's head hits their pillow, they fall asleep licking their lips and wake up with raging hard-ons thinking of the fat fucking golden goose about to be deposited into their laps. And the real estate developers will make prohibition gangsters look like pussies.

Far and way, this is my principal concern. Don't get me wrong, in spite of all it's faults I love the ever living shit out of this city. But I worry that all the planning and resources needed to get the Games of the ground will come at the expense of things that obviously need dire attention. The schools, crime, health care, etc are all kinds of fucked up. What happens if the city diverts the majority of their police/fire presence from the wards the Games? What would that mean for the rest of us that actually live here?

It should be irrelevant at this point, but there are still some traces of "Second-City-Itis", which is the feeling that no matter how great of a city Chicago is, it isn't nor ever will be as great as New York City. I'd like to think this is an illness common among the monied set, but I fear it is shared by those that grew up here and then fled "for greener pastures". Pssssh. It's true that Chicago is no New York City, but that's what I like about Chicago. The Games are not going to thrust us ahead of NYC, no matter how hard Daley tries. It's a fools errand.

If I was a professional handicapper (and I'm anything but, nor am I a betting man) I'd say Chicago is neck in neck with Rio. No way would they hold the games in Madrid so soon after London has them in 2012. And seeing as Beijing just had them, I doubt they would give 2016 to Tokyo. If memory serves they have never held the games in South America, right? So maybe Rio has a slight edge. I dunno.

What I do know, is that when and if we get the 2016 Games, I am getting the FUCK outta' Dodge and going camping in Northern Wisconsin for a few weeks. Maybe I can rent out my place to tourists at a wildly inflated sum! Hmmm...maybe I'm coming around after all.


Anonymous said...

Quite the post. You have done your homework. Impressive. Now go out and get drunk!! You must be thirsty after all that work.. I can smell the smoke coming from your ears.. ;)

Curt said...

Until I read that Lake Shore Drive would be closed for at least 3 months because of "security" (it runs too near all the sites along the lake), I was looking forward to having lots of hot foreigners in town. No longer!

Dean Grey said...


Living my entire life in Chicago, I'm not a fan of the olympics coming here either.

Sure it would be a wonderful thing for the city, but now is just not the right time.

There are way too many things going wrong right now that need to be addressed FIRST before the olympics should be considered.

Get the CTA up to date without all the talks of strikes.

Balance the city's budget in a responsible way so even more layoffs won't occur. Aren't more city jobs supposed to be cut come this November?

Let fix things that need to be fixed here and when that's taken care of then we can talk.

Chicagoans first. Olympics second.

Simple as that!


Zach said...

Aside from the Second-City-Itis ego that is powering most of the bid, don't you see the Olympics as a shot in the ass that will force the city to deal with the CTA issues and the dead zone that is the South Side?

I'll be back in Chicago soon enough and will certainly get the hell out of dodge during the games, but they could do a lot to push the city to deal with some of its never ending issues.

JUSTIN said...

@Zach: Indeed, significant progress could very well be the end result of the 2016 Games; I just worry that much of the progress will be at the expense of the long time residents being priced out of their homes/forced to move with the threat of eminent domain.