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Here we go..

June 15, 2009

(Frankfurt, Germany)   Perhaps it is fitting that I begin this blog in transit.  As I wait for a connecting flight that will take me to Geneva, Switzerland and then on to International Olympic Committee Headquarters in Lausanne I’m reminded one of the motivators for Chicago’s bid: Securing our city’s place on the world stage.

It’s a rather insecure reason when you think about it.  Then again variations of that theme brought us the World’s Fair and Columbian Exposition.  The Sears Tower, Millennium Park and now, possibly, the 2016 Olympic Games.

Whether you believe Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s mission to land the Olympics is the quest of a benevolent leader intent on showcasing our spectacular city or the deed of a dictator desperate to secure contracts for cronies one thing is certain: Our city has a very good shot at winning this competition.

This week in Lausanne Daley makes his biggest pitch to the IOC between now and decision day October 2nd.  Roughly 90 of the 107 people who will pick the winner will listen to presentations from each of the 2016 Candidate Cities (Madrid, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago).  The gathering also gives journalists the opportunity to quiz IOC members on crucial questions:  What do they want in a host city? Are they comfortable with Chicago’s financing?  Will differences with US Olympic Committee leadership – or even sour feelings toward the United States in general – influence their vote?

The IOC can be a rather insular organization whose members tend to believe the Olympics are their gift to a host city rather than critical watchdogs over things like cost and local legacy.  It’s why at every opportunity in our reporting over the last three years we have tried to ask variations on one fundamental question: Would the Games be good for Chicago and its residents?

I hope you’ll join us on air and on line in the days to come…


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let's get this transit junk over with.the only reason the swiss is faster is the stops it makes are less than chicago's.chicago's railway system stops every 4 blocks.last i heard it only takes 20 min. to get from 95st to downtown that is not slow!

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