Sec­ond City Gets Shot at First Games

Chicago Tops L.A. As U.S. Nom­i­nee For ’16 Olympics

The Washington Post Sunday - - On The Air Sunday Morning - By Amy Ship­ley

By pitch­ing its vi­sion of an Olympic Games along Lake Michi­gan and back­ing it with a solid fi­nan­cial plan, Chicago pre­vailed over Los An­ge­les yes­ter­day to be­come the U. S. en­trant in the in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion for the 2016 Sum­mer Games.

When U. S. Olympic Com­mit­tee Chair­man Peter Ue­ber­roth tore open a sealed en­ve­lope and an­nounced Chicago’s vic­tory, the dozen mem­bers of the Chicago bid com­mit­tee erupted in cheers, tears and hugs while the mem­bers of the Los An­ge­les group solemnly rose from their chairs to ex­tend con­grat­u­la­tions.

“ This is an op­por­tu­nity for us to re­ally show­case not only a great Amer­i­can city but a great coun­try,” said Chicago Mayor Richard Daly, who has led the ef­fort along with bid chair­man Pa­trick Ryan, mo­ments af­ter the an­nounce­ment. “ I was very, very ner­vous. That’s why I jumped right out of my seat.”

Ue­ber­roth de­clined to re­veal the vote, but said sev­eral peo­ple on the 11- mem­ber board voted for Los An­ge­les and de­scribed the tally as close.

“ I love the idea of the ath­letes on the lake­front,” Ue­ber­roth said. “ If [ Chicago wins the Games], that will be some­thing new for the ath­letes of the world.”

Af­ter a brief cel­e­bra­tion in a jammed ho­tel ball­room in Wash­ing­ton, Chicago of­fi­cials im­me­di­ately turned their at­ten­tion to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee race, which the city will en­ter of­fi­cially by the end of the sum­mer. A large field in­clud­ing Tokyo, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Rome is ex­pected. The IOC will elect the host city in Oc­to­ber 2009.

“ It’s just the be­gin­ning,” Ryan said. “ It’s a long road . . . [ but] it’s a great day for Chicago, and 2016, here we come.”

Chicago, which has never held an Olympic Games, im­pressed the USOC with its at­trac­tive and com- pact venue plan, em­pha­sis on the Par­a­lympics ( which take place im­me­di­ately af­ter the Olympics) and legacy pro­gram, of­fi­cials said.

But Bob Ctvrt­lik, one of the U. S. rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the IOC, said Chicago’s fi­nan­cial pack­age might have swayed the out­come.

The Chicago City Coun­cil al­ready has ap­proved up to $ 500 mil­lion in gov­ern­ment funds, and bid lead­ers an­nounced yes­ter­day they ex­pected to se­cure $ 500 mil­lion from a private in­sur­ance com­pany. Sev­eral prom­i­nent Chicago leg­is­la­tors, mean­time, have an­nounced their sup­port for an ad­di­tional $ 150 mil­lion in state back­ing, for a to­tal of $ 1.15 bil­lion.

“ I be­lieve they gave our board a level of as­sur­ance that might have been the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween the cities,” Ctvrt­lik said.

Los An­ge­les, which held the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, pre­sented $ 500 mil­lion in state and city fi­nan­cial guar­an­tees. It also of­fered a plan with up­graded venues al­ready in place, but it likely suf­fered from the more sprawl­ing na­ture of its bid.

The USOC board in­cludes twotime Olympian gym­nast and Wash­ing­ton res­i­dent Jair Lynch and Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Chair John S. Hen­dricks, who was a vicechair for Wash­ing­ton- Bal­ti­more’s un­suc­cess­ful bid for the 2012 Games. U. S. IOC mem­bers Anita DeFrantz, Jim Eas­ton and Ctvrt­lik also are mem­bers.

Af­ter the sting­ing fourth- place fin­ish of New York two years ago in the race for the 2012 Games, the USOC con­sid­ered for more than a year whether to sub­mit a 2016 bid city, re­vamped its bid se­lec­tion process and vowed to be more in­volved with the even­tual U. S. rep­re­sen­ta­tive. USOC of­fi­cials also dis­played plenty of hu­mil­ity yes­ter­day, de­ter­mined to show the IOC they had learned from the pre­vi­ous elec­tion.

“ We know we have no guar­an­teed right or en­ti­tle­ment to host the Olympic Games and Par­a­lympic Games,” USOC chief ex­ec­u­tive Jim Scherr said.

USOC of­fi­cials said the or­ga­ni­za­tion is well- po­si­tioned to en­sure there will be no re­peat of the 2012 vote. Soon af­ter New York’s se­lec­tion, the USOC de­creased its board from more than 100 to 11 mem­bers. The shakeup, Scherr said, im­proved the or­ga­ni­za­tion but might have hurt New York’s abil­ity to move for­ward smoothly.

This “ will be a true part­ner­ship,” Ctvrt­lik said. “ It wasn’t that way in 2012, but it will be that way go­ing to­ward the 2016 bid.”

Last year, the USOC ramped up its in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions de­part­ment, nam­ing Ctvrt­lik its vice pres­i­dent, in­ter­na­tional, and Robert Fa­sulo its chief of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. Both are con­sid­ered well- con­nected in the Olympic world. Fa­sulo said yes­ter­day he called sev­eral IOC mem­bers mo­ments af­ter the se­lec­tion to tell them “ what they’re go­ing to see is some­thing dif­fer­ent com­ing from the U. S.”

Chicago, Los An­ge­les and San Fran­cisco were se­lected as fi­nal­ists last sum­mer from a five- city field that in­cluded Hous­ton and Philadel­phia. San Fran­cisco dropped out last Novem­ber af­ter plans for a sta­dium fell through.

“ I look for­ward to go­ing to the Games in Chicago in 2016,” Los An­ge­les bid di­rec­tor Barry San­ders said. “ And I know all of our team looks for­ward to mak­ing sure that hap­pens.

“ We want to help in ev­ery way we can.”


From left, ex-Olympians Cindy Rusher, Steven Ma­her and Kevin Bracken re­act to Chicago beat­ing out Los An­ge­les.

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