I've been having deja vu all day and there's a good reason for it. The venue tour members of the International Olympic Committee's Evaluation Commission are now embarked upon is nearly identical to one I took back in 2007. At the time, Chicago was one of three cities competing for the right to be the US applicant city for the Games.
After being rocked by New York's bid for the 2012 Games falling apart at the last minute... The US Olympic Committee restructured the way it evaluates American cities that want to host the Games. USOC senior leadership decided the best way to prepare a city for the rigorous international inspection was to model its own evaluation after the IOC's process. That means Mayor Daley and bid chairman Patrick Ryan have answered these questions before, defended the venue plan and been through much of this process before. It has to give Chicago a significant advantage during this crucial week-long inspection.Sunday April 5, 2009, 12:30pm
Next stop: Soldier Field. IOC members will see the the stadium that would be home to soccer in the 2016. They'll also get a view of Northerly Island which will be called "Olympic Island" if we get the Games. No word if the IOC will be told about the Mayor's Gold Medal in the sport of "overnight airport demolition" during their briefing.
We're told Olympic swimming silver medalist Christine Magnuson (from Tinley Park) as well as Bart Connor and Nadia Comaneci will greet the IOC at Soldier Field.Sunday April 5, 2009, 12:05pm
IOC members met a small army of South Side aldermen inside the DuSable Museum where they were briefed about the plans for the Olympic Stadium and 4-pool aquatics center in Washington Park.
The weather gods are smiling on Chicago's Olympic bid. Despite a brutal weather forecast that featured clouds and rain... The sun is shining at the moment.
Still no sign of Mayor Daley... And still no return phone call from his press staff letting us know when or if he'll rejoin the tour.Sunday April 5, 2009, 10:30am
More than 200 volunteers are standing in the rain in Washington Park holding the flags of each of the countries that participate in the Olympic movement. "Today we've got far more volunteers standing in the rain in the park...than we've had people protesting the Games," observed Chicago 2016 spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
Sunday April 5, 2009, 9:15am
On a cold and rainy morning in Chicago, the International Olympic Committee's Evaluation Commission began an 8 to 10-hour bus tour of the city. But Mayor Daley has bailed on a part of the tour. A Chicago 2016 spokesman said Daley was with the delegation as they stopped at the proposed Olympic Village site at Michael Reese Hospital, but media was not permitted to attend that portion of the tour.
It's not clear when or if Daley, who typically does not make public or political appearances on Sundays, will rejoin the group.
Also of note, the IOC group is not riding a CTA hybrid bus as originally discussed. They're on a private coach. There's no word on the reason the CTA is not the preferred mode of transportation.
Meanwhile, people dressed in Native American garb beating a loud drum greeted the group at McCormick Place where traditonal Chinese dancers also stand ready to show off Chicago's ethnic and cultural diversity.
A medical records management convention is underway at McCormick Place. Conventioneers carrying goodie bags are looking on as gymnasts practice their routines on the main concourse. McCormick Place would be home to gymnastics, fencing, volleyball and media operations if Chicago gets the Games.
IOC members were driven through Grant Park (site of marathon start) and past Monroe Harbor (rowing and swimming venues) on their way to McCormick Place. Chicago 2016 managed to roust a few dozen people up early to wave signs of support along 31st Street. No signs of protestors so far.
Next stop for IOC members: the DuSable Museum.