Archives for the 'Olympics' Category

Olympics 2016: IOC Evaluation Team Visits Chicago

The Olympic evaluation team visited Chicago as part of the 2016 Olympics bid process.

Chicago Sun-Times mentions:

Then at Monroe Harbor, a possible home to Olympic rowing and swimming competitions, sailboats rocked on the choppy waters, its masts emblazoned with the Chicago 2016 bid team’s logo.,olympics-international-committee-chicago-040509.stng

5 April 2009 | Olympics | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics bid update


Chicago Olympics 2016 Applicant City logo

We attended a preview last week of the Chicago 2016 Olympics Bid Committee presentation for the Olympics selection committee.

The venue for sailing was identified vaguely as offshore the Burnham Harbor entrance and McCormick Place. The venue for rowing was located at Monroe Harbor between the Shedd Aquarium and Navy Pier. Details were sparse and these locations may be subject to change.

Dislocation of boats from the harbors during Olympics and construction was not mentioned. There are many other aspects of the Olympics bid that have greater priority in the bid presentation, let alone if Chicago is chosen as host city.

The Chicago bid is a responsible effort to address the concerns and requirements brought on by hosting the Olympics, local politics and financial controversies notwithstanding. The bid focuses on solving the many logistical and pragmatic concerns that are involved in the overall project, including attention to winding down after the Olympics. In this regard, the Chicago bid is considered very strong among the other possible host cities, due to its solution-oriented approach and the local geography, Olympic village and infrastructure providing a good host location.

However, it was noted that unforeseeable and unknown factors impact the host city decision. For example, one country recently sent a delegation of schoolchildren to vote whimsically for their city of choice.

The planned new 31st Street harbor is included as a component of the Olympics bid.

The upcoming timeline of the selection process includes Olympics selection committee visit to Chicago in April, and ultimately the final decision made on October 2, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The decision will be made by a series of votes in a process of elimination, removing one city each round until the winning host city is chosen.

Regardless of the outcome of the Olympics bid, the city of Chicago will purchase the approximately 37-acre Michael Reese Hospital property before the end of June 2009. The Michael Reese property will have a TIF tax benefit for its developers.

Current Illinois governor Pat Quinn has pledged to increase the state’s Olympic guarantee to $250 million, adding to the city’s previously-announced guarantees. The Illinois budget is long overdue and still undecided, having been delayed by Blagojevich and the fiasco surrounding his arrest and the Burris senatorial appointment. Currently, the Illinois budget has a deficit more than $11.5 billion, according to Quinn.

Today on WLS 890 AM radio, Quinn described the state’s Olympic guarantee as third in line after Chicago’s $500 million guarantee and the bid committee’s $500 million guarantee funded by “private insurance”. Interestingly enough, the recent controversies in the news involve similar transactions, as AIG is a major insurer of government, and the city has been plagued with scandal involving city ties to insurance agency schemes locally.

Pat Quinn also highlighted the problem of road potholes throughout the state, and stated his goal to fix the roads, even aspiring to be the “pothole governor” if that were to be his legacy.

Potholes were in the news earlier this week, as the city generated more controversy by rebuilding roads in the vicinity of the Olympics site, while ignoring necessary road repairs throughout the city, particularly in nearby neighborhoods that have been neglected for years.

If you are interested in supporting the Chicago 2016 Olympics bid, the bid committee is seeking financial support and commitments by institutions or investors to demonstrate to the Olympic selection committee that there is sufficient financial backing to meet the guarantee requirements and establish the feasible likelihood that the overall project and infrastructure can be developed and completed successfully to host the Olympics.

In particular, if you represent a banking institution, investment company or other organization that can provide written documentation of your level of commitment to investment, underwriting or lending on behalf of the project, please contact the bid committee, or contact us for specific contact information.

22 March 2009 | Chicago, Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

President Barack Obama: “Special Olympics” gaffe to impact Chicago 2016 Olympics bid?

Last night during his appearance on the the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama likened his bowling ineptitude to the Special Olympics.

Chicago’s Mayor Daley has stated on numerous occasions that US President Obama would be a key factor in influencing the 2016 Olympics bid selection favorably, by dint of his high official rank and connection to Chicago serving to impress and wow the selection committee.

Apart from the audacity of offensiveness in Obama’s gaffe, one must now wonder if Obama reflects favorably or not on Chicago in the eyes of the Olympics selection committee.

Too bad politics does not have the same rules as the Olympics, because our country certainly voted for amateurs to occupy the White House this term.

Unfortunately, although his chaotic and ill-considered policies are driving up the price of gold and emptying the pockets of taxpayers for years to come, Obama is not winning any gold medals for his presidential abilities.

20 March 2009 | Chicago, Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics Update: More Money, Please. Illinois Governor Quinn Pledges State To Commit $250M Guarantee for Olympics

Chicago Tribune reports:

Daley’s inability to provide anything more than a limited financial guarantee could make it difficult, if not impossible, for the city to win the 2016 Summer Games, many Olympics experts say.

Chicago Olympics boosters are scrambling to increase taxpayer support for the 2016 Games to shore up a fundamental weakness in their bid just weeks before international officials arrive to evaluate the strength of the city’s pitch.

At the heart of the push is a statistic that Chicago officials have not mentioned: No city in the past quarter-century has won the Games without a blanket guarantee to cover all financial risks.

Chicago will not make such a guarantee, but Mayor Richard Daley and other leaders of Chicago’s plan won a pledge this week from Gov. Pat Quinn to raise the state’s share of the guarantee by $100 million, to $250 million. State lawmakers moved to fast track the guarantee Thursday, and Quinn said time was of the essence with Olympic officials scheduled to visit in early April.,0,7167962.story

15 March 2009 | Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics Update: “Shocked.” “Surprised.” “Not Happy.”

Chicago Tribune reports:

Jim Scherr resigns as head of United States Olympic Committee
Resignation of USOC chief executive hurts key image of continuity

“I was disappointed. I don’t think it helps in any way, but I don’t think it damages us,” Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick Ryan said Thursday. “[But] I was shocked. I’m surprised. Not happy.”

In the four years before Scherr took over, first as acting CEO and then permanent boss, the USOC had four presidents, four CEOs and four marketing directors.

The stability since his arrival allowed the USOC and Chicago to establish what both sides called an unprecedented partnership to promote a U.S. bid. Ctvrtlik, the USOC vice president of international relations, has a key role in that partnership.

Now Chicago must waste time and energy before the Oct. 2 vote for the 2016 host in trying to explain why the USOC once again has an new CEO. Stephanie Streeter of Neenah, Wis., was given the job on an interim basis.,0,614314.story

CNN Sports Illustrated takes a look:

Scherr’s abrupt resignation leaves questions throughout USOC – Brian Cazenue – Inside Olympic Sports

Jim Scherr’s abrupt resignation as Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee leaves several questions: Why is he out, what does it mean for the USOC and could his resignation affect Chicago’s chances to land the 2016 Olympics when the IOC awards those Games in October? Is an organization that had righted its ship after years of dysfunction now setting itself up for another era of wayward management or merely adjusting its priorities in a tough economy?

15 March 2009 | Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago 2016 Olympics Bid links – “a comprehensive, balanced discussion about the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid.” – Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee website.

Citizen Media Law Project – Chicago 2016 v. Frayne – vexatious litigation by US Olympic Committee and Chicago 2016 Olympic bid organization against website domain.

Don’t Give Up The Ship – Chicago Yachting Association and Columbia Yacht Club boating advocacy support for Chicago 2016 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee will choose the 2016 Olympics host city on October 2, 2009.

15 February 2009 | Burnham Park Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Columbia Yacht Club, Jackson Park Yacht Club, Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago Tribune: Boat owners warned: Don’t make waves over Olympics rowing plan

Chicago Tribune:

Boat owners warned: Don’t make waves over Olympics rowing plan

Yacht club group tells members it fears retaliation from city if they protest proposal for Monroe Harbor

By Laurie Cohen, Kathy Bergen and David Heinzmann

Tribune reporters

February 12, 2009

Lots of boaters are unhappy with plans to use Monroe Harbor as the rowing venue for the 2016 Olympics should Chicago win the Games, but you won’t hear many complaints.

The Chicago Yachting Association, an umbrella group for 15 yacht clubs in the Chicago area, has asked members to keep a lid on it, noting in a memo obtained by the Tribune that yacht clubs “are vulnerable to retribution.”

Mayor Richard Daley’s office and the Chicago Park District have made it clear “that they do not wish to talk about issues that may be confrontational until after October 2009,” according to the memo by an association committee charged with formulating an approach to the city’s Olympic plans.

City officials say they aren’t trying to stifle dissent before Oct. 2, when the International Olympic Committee, which values popular support, selects a host city. But critics of the bid, from parks activists to concerned taxpayers, believe boosters have worked to suppress public criticism and withhold potentially controversial information.

The three-year Chicago campaign to win the Summer Games has been a study in how to carefully control the flow of information, with details parceled out only to the extent required to satisfy Olympic officials. The team has cited the intense competition among the finalists, which include Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, as a reason for keeping portions of its playbook private.

But critics want more information. The bid campaign “is not a very transparent process, and that makes it frustrating for us,” said Peggy Brennan, vice commodore of the historic Columbia Yacht Club, who wants more details on how use of Monroe Harbor as the rowing venue would affect boaters.

“When taxpayer dollars are involved, you’d like to be a little more transparent on these things,” said Allen Sanderson, who teaches economics at the University of Chicago.

Now, in formal bid documents due Thursday, Chicago and its rivals had to answer an extensive battery of tough questions from the IOC. The bid team has been saying for months that its book, to be released publicly in Chicago on Friday, will answer many remaining questions.

But other significant questions that aren’t required to be addressed will continue to go unanswered, including an accounting of donations to fund Chicago’s nearly $60 million effort to win the Games, information that would show who pitched in the most for one of the mayor’s favorite causes.

Chicago-area residents, while largely supporting the bid, doubt some of the city’s claims. A Tribune poll this month found that many Olympics supporters, as well as a vast majority of those opposed to bringing the Games here, don’t buy Daley’s pledge that private funds would cover nearly all the costs.

So far, the city hasn’t been quick to own up to the financial risks taxpayers would have to bear. Over time, it became known the city would make a variety of commitments, from a $500 million guarantee against the potential of operating losses to picking up the cost of city services and purchasing the site for an Olympic Village, for ultimate resale to a private developer.

Visit to continue reading this article.


15 February 2009 | Burnham Park Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Columbia Yacht Club, Jackson Park Yacht Club, Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

Chicago says 2016 Olympics Could Be Profitable…
Despite Price Tag


Chicago Olympics 2016 Applicant City logo

Venue costs to host the 2016 Olympics in Chicago are estimated at $900 million, plus an “Athlete’s Village” costing another $1 billion.

It is believed most host cities report net losses due to hosting the Olympics- does anyone believe Chicago will prove to be an exception?


16 January 2008 | Law, Politics and Government, Olympics | No Comments

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