Today is the day that members of the IOC will tour Chicago and determine its suitability for hosting the 2016 Summer Games. Chicago will spend roughly $50 million on seducing the IOC, and today marks the “champagne on ice and Barry White CD” stage of that seduction.
The City will cut on the fountains two weeks early, charm the delegation with newly planted flowers, and sell their visitors on the promise of a “green” Olympics. The IOC decision-makers will eat world-class grub and be whisked over streets that–miracle of miracles–have no potholes (without any help from KFC!). Heck, Mayor Daley, in his best Dear Leader fashion, is even encouraging rank-and-file Chicagoans to make signs showing their support for the City’s bid.
Indeed, with the promise of President Obama’s involvement when the final decision is made in October and with the reassurances of IOC president Jacques Rogge, it appears Chicago’s star is on the rise. Ultimately, it may come down to the IOC’s desire to place the Games within the powerful and far-reaching American media market. Tokyo can compete in this regard, particularly after the ratings successes of the Beijing Games. Then again, will the IOC put the Summer Games once again in the Orient when the U.S. hasn’t hosted since Atlanta in 1996?
In any event, this Chicago resident says, “Vive le Somewhere Else!” Perhaps I’ll make a sign.