Thursday, September 03, 2009

Support for 2016 Olympic bid fading?

That's the headline in this morning's Chicago Tribune. Coming, as it does, on the day after the International Olympic Committee released its technical evaluation of the four remaining bids for the games (the link will take you to the Huffington Post which has the entire report embedded) the news must be sobering for those hoping to bring the Olympics here.

The Olympics, we are told, won't go where they're not wanted. One criticism of Tokyo's bid, in the recent technical evaluations, was that it lagged behind the other cities in public support. The Tribune poll's figures, if accurate, show we now lag well behind Tokyo.


Here's a link to the official website. You'll see pretty pictures there, a slick video, testimonials from former Olympians who have Chicago ties. (Huge surprise! Michael Jordan backs the bid!)

Of course, there are also local people who have been staunchly opposed to the Olympic bid from the beginning. It's rather Newtonian when you think about it: For every website, there's an equal and opposite website. For there's No Games Chicago.

But most of us locals, I suspect, are somewhere in between these two poles. Public opinion is heading negative at the moment because -- another huge surprise! -- long-rumored insider deals are starting to surface, such as the disclosure that 2016 committee member (and Daley-appointed Chicago School Board chief) Michael Scott "and a group of politically connected West Side ministers were planning to develop city-owned vacant lots kitty-corner to Douglas Park, the proposed Olympic cycling venue." The August 13 Chicago Tribune reported that, one day after determining that Mr. Scott was not compromised by his involvement in the project, Scott had decided "to accelerate his separation as agent for the group." (The quotes are taken from the Tribune's August 13 Clout Street blog entry.)

As the late Paul Powell said, "I can smell the meat a-cookin'."

There are millions to be made from the 2016 Olympics -- and, if the games are awarded to Chicago, Daley's friends will make most of them. The likely boodle boom tends to sour the disposition of the vast majority of those who, like yours truly, are on the outside looking in. There's your reason for declining public support.

On the other hand, as I've said before while talking local politics, being without friends in high places is the best defense against indictment.

Not that the IOC much cares what an old Curmudgeon has to say, but I think it might be kind of exciting if the 2016 Olympics come to Chicago. It'll be sheer misery when the games are on, and in the weeks before and after, just getting to work in the morning. I reserve my right -- if I'm still breathing and blogging then -- to crab about that. Sadly, our political overlords will steal from us whether the games come here or not. So we might as well get the games. With luck, some of the politicians will get caught overreaching for that Olympic gold and find themselves in jail as a result.


Dave said...

They couldn't be worse than our games in 1996, the only Olympiad that that Juan Sandwich guy didn't declare to be "the best ever." And don't worry about traffic, by the time they arrive everyone that lives in metropolitan Chicago will have left town, having hoped to rent their house for an astronomical amount, and failed to do so, or will have altered their commuting so that no one is driving anywhere, including restaurants that will beg for customers like you.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

People are considering the 2016 Olympics. A city wouldn't bid if they knew the financial black hole it opens up. Us in Britain have one for 2012.

sari said...

I think it would be fun, but then again, I grew up in Southern California and a billion and six people around me don't phase me too much (unless I am in charge of watching a bunch of them, and then maybe it's a little unnerving. Where are they going? Do I have all of them? Wait, we're missing one kid and we're at Disneyland! Great!).

Good luck.