Olympic Countdown: 12 months until 2016 host named

October 2, 2008 3:12:48 PM PDT
One year from now, the IOC will announce if Chicago will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. From Beijing to London, Athens to Washington-- for two-and-a-half years now Mayor Daley and his team have traveled the world, working to win the right to host the Olympics.

Ask him whether it's worth it, and you get this response:

"What are you talking about? Geez! 2016, gimme a break!" said Daley.

In Daley-speak... that's a resounding "yes." All four of the 2016 Candidate cities- Chicago, Madrid, Rio, and Tokyo- have political leaders committed to winning the Games.

The President of Brazil celebrated the one-year mark by honoring his country's athletes and pointing out that South America has never before hosted the Games. Madrid announced plans to move a few venues to make its plan more compact -- that's a strength of Chicago's plan.

Experts say Tokyo, having bid for the Games before, technically has the best developed plan. Chicago is still finalizing its location for the Olympic Village. Last week, cost derailed the city's effort buy the Michael Reese Hospital site.

"We've not bridged that gap, will we ever bridge that gap? Who knows," said Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 Chairman.

All the cities will need finalize their plans by February, that's when bid books are due. In the spring, an International Olympic Committee site evaluation team will visit each city. Presentations will be made in Switzerland in June. With the winner announced one year from today.

The economy has many companies cutting back on charitable giving. Chicago 2016 says its fundraising is on schedule with 80-percent of the 49 million dollars required to fund the bid already in the bank.

"We're not naive to the fact right now it's more difficult; but it's more difficult for everybody, all the cities," said Ryan.

In these tough times, the Mayor was asked whether Chicago should devote so much effort to the Olympics?

"Come on! You have to have some vision or optimism about the future," said Daley.


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