Chicago 2016 team returns home

October 3, 2009 9:35:52 PM PDT
Mayor Daley says he is upset that Chicago its Olympic bid. The Chicago 2016 team returned home empty-handed Saturday after Rio de Janeiro won the right to host the Games.The shocking fourth place finish is the talk of the town this weekend, and the question remains, what went wrong?

Still, members of the 2016 bid team say they believe they did their best and they are not going to play 'Monday morning quarterback.'

Their plane landed at approximately 4:45 p.m. Saturday at O'Hare International Airport. On board the United Airlines charter flight were Mayor Daley, 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan and several former Olympic athletes.

It wasn't the welcome home that they wanted, but those who traveled to Copenhagen had to come back, eventually, to disappointed faces.

Mayor Daley, Maggie Daley, Governor Quinn, and Olympians, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee, all took the trip to Denmark. The flight lasted about nine hours.

Before the group stopped briefly to talk to the news media, there was some cheering and clapping as they arrived at the airport. The bid team gave a round of applause and chanted, "Chicago."

ABC7 reporter Ben Bradley, who was on the same flight, says the mood on the airplane was surprising upbeat.

When asked if he would go back and do anything differently with regards to the bid effort, Mayor Daley said:

"No. When you give your best, and that's what you always have to do, you don't start second-guessing, 'I missed the last shot,' or something. I would say our presentation, when you look at our presentation from the beginning to the end, and the message was about people, it was from the heart. It wasn't about words. It wasn't about numbers. It wasn't about anything like that. It was about the Jesse Owens and the Ralph Metcalfs and Michelle's [Obama] father, that was the message. And the young people, what we're looking at and the values that we want to instill, and I think that was the message we had."

The mayor also thanked President Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, for their presentations.

Daley says he does not have a theory on why Chicago got knocked out in the first round of the International Olympic Committee vote. He does say that based on how the IOC chooses regions of the world, that this would have been Chicago's best shot.

The following was Daley's reaction when one reporter suggested that the failed bid could hurt Chicago:

"We have a great city. I don't know why you're so negative about the city of Chicago. If you're from Chicago, go back and talk about the World's Fair, talk about the great Chicago fire. We have a great city. These are great people," Daley said.

Governor Quinn and other athletes on the bid team also briefly talked about how they think the bid helped improve the world's view of America. The also talked about the initial shock of hearing the news of the loss.

"We were riding on the bus, and they told us we were eliminated the first round. I don't think you could have punched us any harder," said former Olympian David Robinson.

"We lost, ok. That's a bummer. Let's take all that hard work we did and use it as a catalyst to continue to push all the good work that we've done to this point," said Bob Burland, also a former Olympian.

"We are disappointed and upset but this does not take anything away from us as a great city or the people that volunteered and worked on this, Olympians and Paralympians. No, it doesn't," Mayor Daley said.

Chicago chairman Pat Ryan has refused to blame anyone for the city's loss, saying simply that it wasn't Chicago's time. Read Pat Ryan's statement

Everyone who spoke after the flight said, win or lose, the bid effort was a step forward for Chicago on the world stage.

But remember, this was a three-and-a-half-year effort, and they came back without the win. The mayor could have used a win during a time of low approval ratings, a city budget shortfall and a rash of deadly violence.


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