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Inside the Bid: Your Money

September 22, 2009 9:02:30 AM PDT
While Chicago would be home to the main Olympic venues if the city wins the 2016 Summer Games, many other communities would also be affected.A Chicago Games would extend far beyond the city limits, even into neighboring states.

Local tourism boards in those towns salivate at the exposure the Olympics would bring. City planners pray for infrastructure. And residents: here's what you can expect "possibly" coming to a town near you.

One hundred and forty miles from Chicago, the Olympics might form a permanent bond with our neighbors to the north.

"Up here in Wisconsin, we don't root for Chicago for much, but in this case we're really rooting for them to get the Olympics," said one cyclist.

A Chicago Games could mean millions in tourist revenue not to mention free global advertising for southern Wisconsin. The capitol dome would provide the backdrop for road cycling event. But within minutes, Olympians would find themselves rocketing across rural roads with only cornfields and soybean sprouts as their companions. It's a far cry from the iconic scenes cyclists saw in Beijing.

"I think that we will get over that hump quickly, particularly when people find out the biking long course is on an Iron Man course, which has never happened before," said Deb Archer, Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

No one disputes there's great cycling in Wisconsin, but...

"Being an Olympian, I want to be amongst all the other Olympians at the Olympic Village," said Christian Vande Velde, Olympic cyclist.

Olympic medalist Vande Velde and his dad, who also medaled in the Games, are among a group hoping to convince planners to relocate the cycling course to the southwest suburbs.

"We would have 3 million people watching the sport of cycling for the men's and women's road race in comparison to a couple hundred thousand up in Madison," said John Vande Velde, Olympian.

"The stadium is going to be up over here," said Larry Leffingwell, Tempel Farms.

Iin far north suburban Old Mill Creek, near Wadsworth, Ill., the family farm of the late Chicago steel magnate Tempel Smith would see temporary stands rise so tens of thousands of people can watch equestrian competitions.

"Something like the Olympics, my grandfather would absolutely have loved to have. He was a proud American," said Leffingwell.

The equestrian venue was moved to Tempel Farms to quell community concerns about the neccesity of building new horse facilities in a Lake County Forest Preserve.

Opening private property to a global audience took some convincing, but Tempel Smith's grandchildren are excited about the possibility of sharing their scenic surroundings with so many.

Other suburbs that would see Olympic events include Evanston for the modern pentathlon, University Park for shooting and, if golf is added to the program, Cog Hill and Olympia Fields are options are mentioned as a possible courses.

Countless communities are preparing for the positives and pitfalls of a "Chicago" Games.

Keep in mind the potential venues can change after a host city is selected.


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