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Who in Chicago wants the 2016 Olympics ?

ANYBODY GOT $500 million collecting dust under the couch? If you live in Chicago, take a second look between those cushions. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has let it be known that the people of the Windy City could pay out as much as $500 million if they are awarded the 2016 Summer Games.

Chicago's Olympic Chairman Patrick Ryan harrumphed that there was no chance of this, since--by his logic--the Olympics don't lose money. They make money. He said that the Summer Games have never incurred debt, and "we would have to be the first really incompetents to do that."

Leaving aside Ryan's clear grudge against grammar, one has to wonder whether he learned Olympic history at the feet of Beavis and Butthead.

The unassailable truth is that the Olympics treat cities like Dick Cheney treats hunting buddies. As Sports Illustrated's Michael Fish wrote, "You stage a two-week athletic carnival and, if things go well, pray the local municipality isn't sent into financial ruin."

Ryan doesn't have to believe this, but as the saying goes, he also doesn't have to believe in gravity to fall out of a plane.

From: Picking our pockets with the Olympics, By Dave Zirin, 04/04/07,

More at: Edge of Sports

See also: Marion Jones

CHICAGO -- The woman in charge of London's successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games gave some advice to organizers of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games on Thursday. "Be very clear in how you communicate about why it is you're bidding for the games," said Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell.

Jowell, who was in charge of London's bid, said she learned much during the process. Jowell spoke from the experience of selling the bid, winning the bid, and then facing seemingly endless criticism for the budget of the bid.

"We could have just knocked the topsoil off this derelict land, put up a number of temporary structures and done it really very cheaply," Jowell said. "But, our ambition is to use the Olympics as the catalyst that will drive the regeneration."

Currently, the price tag for the London games is approximately $18 billion. While there are worries about how much Chicago's bill would cost, Chicago's Olympic planners said it was the environmental remediations of London's site that have largely driven the cost overruns they have faced.

It's also important to note that their games' budget has really remained stable," said Doug Arnot of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. "The redevelopment budget has grown significantly."

Jowell offered another piece of advice at a gathering of Chicago businesspeople. "Hang onto your seats, because it's a white-knuckle ride," she said. "You never know what's around every corner."

From: London's Olympic Minister Gives Chicago Advice, Phil Rogers, NBC5/WMAQ TV Chicago,November 29, 2007

More at: NBC5

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