Flashback #87: Olympic Decision (2009)
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October 2, 2009 – Olympic Decision
Though Chicago seemed liked a favorite to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, the games ultimately were awarded to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Chicago was competing against Tokyo, Madrid, Spain and Rio de Janeiro to earn the votes of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen.
The city of Chicago – despite the lobbying of several celebrities, including President Obama - wasn’t even the runner-up, as it was voted out in the first round of voting by the IOC. Thousands gathered at Chicago’s Daley Plaza for the announcement.
“Like in every competition, there can be only one winner,” said Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee.
The decision to pursue hosting the Olympics was a mixed one in Chicago. Some thought it would be a great opportunity for the city to show off and generate revenue, while others felt the Olympics would ultimately be an drain on the city’s economy.
Reports indicated Chicago 2016, the organization leading the effort to host the games, projected an estimated cost of around $3.8 billion, including a “rainy day” fund of $450 million for unforeseen increases, if the city had won the bid.
The bidding process alone cost the city of Chicago an estimated $100 million.
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