Chicagoans mixed after 2016 bid fails
Madeline Buckley | Monday, October 5, 2009
During his daily ritual of scanning news sites online, junior Steven Ouyang saw something Friday morning that shocked him. After almost four years of working to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago, the city lost the bid in the first round of voting.
“The favorites were Rio and Chicago, so when Chicago got kicked out in the first round, I was really disappointed,” Ouyang, a Chicago-area resident, said.
Chicago had spent almost $50 million to bring the Olympics to the area, but Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro all passed the city in votes during the first round, with Rio de Janeiro eventually winning the bid, according to an Associated Press report.
“I think it’s good that [Rio de Janeiro] got it, especially because a South American country has never hosted the Olympics. From that standpoint, it’s fantastic,” Ouyang said. “But the city has some really big security issues to deal with.
“It’s unfortunate. I was really looking forward to hosting the Olympics,” he said.
Sophomore Mary Glennon, from the southern suburbs of Chicago, said she was also surprised and disappointed when she heard Chicago had lost the bid to host the Olympics.
“It was really exciting for awhile,” she said. “I think it would have been really fun.”
Glennon said the possible economic impact of the Olympics would have been a welcome stimulant to the city’s economy.
“My brother works in architecture and for him, if the Olympics came, it would have opened up a ton of jobs,” she said.
But not all Chicago residents are disappointed the city lost the bid.
Sophomore Katie Mayka said she had “mixed feelings” about the Olympics coming to Chicago from the beginning.
“It would have been really exciting but at the same time put a burden on a lot of people,” she said.
Mayka said the intense planning and construction that Chicago would have put forth to hold the Olympics would have strained the day-to-day operations of the city.
Junior Tim Castellini said he thinks the city dodged a bullet.
“A lot of Olympic cities have enormous deficits in their budgets after hosting the Olympics and there are always a whole bunch of buildings and structures that go unused afterward,” he said. “In that sense, I’m relieved.”
Although the Olympics would have brought people from all over the world to Chicago, Castellini said he does not believe the economic benefit would have been worth it for the city.
“So often these Olympic cities put forth tons of money and come out with a net loss,” he said.
But despite his relief, Castellini said Chicago’s loss was a big surprise — especially a loss in the first round.
“One of my friend’s dad was on the board trying to get the Olympics to come to Chicago and he thought all along we were going to get it,” he said. “I had assumed this whole time that it wasn’t even a question.”
Junior Alyssa Hartsell worked in downtown Chicago this summer, and she said support for the Olympic games was all over the city.
“I saw so many signs downtown this summer,” she said. “There was just so much support. It would have been really cool to be able to witness it and be a part of it.”
Although not entirely disappointed Chicago lost the bid, Mayka also said she could not believe the city lost so early in the voting rounds.
“I had been hearing we were pretty much the favorite,” she said. “I was shocked.”
Ouyang said he was surprised because thought President Barack Obama’s quick trip to Copenhagen would have influenced the votes.
“The Olympics are such a big deal and Obama went to go procure it for Chicago and for the nation,” he said.