Patrick Ryan, head of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Monday, June 22, 2009, where he assured city taxpayers and city council members that it's unlikely they'll be on the hook for millions in case the games turn out to be a financial flop.
Washington, D.C., is attempting a feat that eluded Chicago three years ago: hosting the Olympic Games.
Chicago made a bid for 2016 and suffered a stinging first-round exit, with Rio de Janeiro winning the games.
Chicago's defeat was blamed partly on a revenue-sharing feud between the USOC and IOC. The two sides have since resolved the dispute, and USOC leaders have worked hard to improve their standing in the international Olympic community.
"It's a different USOC than it was, certainly, for Chicago," said DC 2024 president Bob Sweeney.
Here are a few more reasons D.C. might have a better chance than Chicago:
- Chicagoans didn’t really want the Olympics. Despite early enthusiasm, and a traveling sales pitch that visited every ward, residents turned against the Games. Part of this was disenchantment with the Daley Administration over the recently-passed parking meter deal. Even Chicagoans who wanted the Games didn’t trust Daley to honestly administer the contracts involved. As a federally-run city, D.C. is less liable to local corruption.
- Security. Chicago has an international reputation for violence that goes back to Al Capone. President Obama didn’t trust the city to provide security for both the NATO and the G-8 summits last year. The president of DC 2024, the city’s Olympic bid committee, called Washington “the safest and most secure city in the world,” due to the presence of federal agents who protect the president and Congress.
- It’s the capital. The last three Olympics have been held in capital cities: London, Beijing and Athens. Other world capitals to host Olympics include Paris, Helsinki, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Moscow, Seoul, Amsterdam and Stockholm. In the U.S., Washington has been passed over for St. Louis, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
The vote won’t be until the fall of 2017, so at least Obama will be spared from having to grovel before the International Olympic Committee again. That will be the next president’s job.