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Chicago may host Olympics

Becky Hogan | Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chicago is rallying for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic bid, and the Notre Dame community is trying to help make that a reality.

Senior Kelly Kapshandy, who has been working on the Chicago 2016 Olympic and Paralympic bid for more than a year, sought the support of the Notre Dame community Wednesday in the LaFortune Student Center where she registered more than 425 students, faculty and members of the campus community in support of the bid.

Kapshandy said because much of the campus community is connected to Chicago, she wanted to help bring the Olympics to the city by rallying the support of Notre Dame students, faculty and alumni.

“The Olympic committee comes in one month, so we are trying to get students involved in raising support for the Olympic bid. So many people at Notre Dame are from Chicago originally, so getting the campus involved is a great way to build positive hype for the games,” she said.

Additionally, since Chicago is the only city in the United States in the running to host the 2016 Olympics, Kapshandy said it is important for the country to support the bid as well.

“We want to show not only that Chicago supports the bid, but that America does,” she said.

Kapshandy said Chicago would be a great venue for bringing people from all over the globe together.

“As of today, over 1.1 million people have registered their support on the Chicago 2016 Web site,” Kapshandy said.

The International Olympic Evaluation Committee is visiting the four candidate cities starting with Chicago in April and continuing through May, Kapshandy said.  The International Olympic Committee will announce who will host the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games on Oct. 2.

The other three candidate cities are Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to Kapshandy, the Olympic committee’s decision about where to host the summer games involves much scrutiny.

“The committee is looking at everything: is city able to host one million people in the span of several weeks, are citizens of the city also supporting the bid, do they have adequate transportation?” she said.

While Kapshandy could not disclose specifics about how Chicago 2016 is planning to prepare for the Olympics if it is chosen as the host of the 2016 summer games, she said the city will make sure that everyone from residents to visitors are accommodated.

“… Chicago is trying to make sure that the Olympics are held the best way to accommodate residents, athletes, and spectators,” she said.

Plans are in the works to hold another registration drive on campus later this semester, Kapshandy said.

Notre Dame’s involvement in bringing the Olympics to Chicago doesn’t end on campus. Today the Notre Dame Club of Chicago will host its Hesburgh Forum, which will feature three Notre Dame Alumni speakers and a luncheon at the Union League Club in Chicago. The Notre Dame alumni speakers include Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Chicago 2016 committee Valerie Waller and Chairman of the McDonald’s Corporation Andrew McKenna Sr.

Kapshandy said she first got involved in bringing the Olympics to Chicago to keep herself busy over Christmas break.

“During Christmas break in 2007, I decided to do something with my break and I sent a few e-mails to people on the Chicago 2016 committee. I connected with a Saint Mary’s alum who was working on the 2016 Olympics and I’ve been there for over a year now,” Kapshandy said.

I’d heard about it before it became popular, I grew up in Chicago, and I love sports … so I decided to do what I could to bring the games to Chicago in 2016.”