Chicago tries to snag int'l media attention in Beijing

August 7, 2008 9:07:45 PM PDT
They may not have a vote, but their opinions are pretty important.In the main press center, more than 20,000 journalists cover the Games.

Sixteen days of competition, 10,500 athletes from 205 nations - and there are 21,600 journalists there to cover it all.

"We're here trying to present Chicago's bid to the world, and the conduit to that is the international media. They're all here, so we get a chance to talk to them," said Michael Kontos, Chicago 2016 international relations.

Kontos coordinates international relations for Chicago's Olympic bid. He says at the moment, almost everyone is focused on athlete rivalries and opening ceremonies, but reporters have a notoriously short attention span.

"As the Games go on and things settle down, attention turns to the future, and that's really when we'll try to talk more at length with them," said Kontos.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has been doing interviews with foreign reporters, talking up Chicago's plan for a lakefront Olympics in the heart of the city.

And all around is evidence of what $40 billion dollars will buy. Daley says a Chicago Games would be nothing like what fans are witnessing in Beijing.

"This is a massive undertaking, actually rebuilding a city!" Daley said.

"You don't always have to top the one before, but you do need to put your unique stamp on it," said Bob Ctvrtlik, International Olympic Committee.

Mayor Daley and President George W. Bush will be among the 91,000 people attending opening ceremonies at Beijing's National Stadium.


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