As a sad reminder of what might have been in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro unveiled the winning project for its Olympic park master plan Monday. Ironically, the news came on the same day that the United States Olympic Committee announced it would not submit a bid for the 2020 Summer Games.
Chicago’s own Olympic hopes were dashed two years ago, when Rio was awarded the games after Chicago’s elimination in the first round of voting.
Rio 2016 officials said Monday that their Olympic Park would include venues for 10 Olympic sports (basketball, judo, taekwondo, wrestling, handball, hockey, tennis, cycling, aquatics, and gymnastics), as well as 11 Paralympic sports. The Main Press Center and the International Broadcast Center will also be built on the site.
Rio officials said they expect to sell over three million tickets.
After the games, Rio plans to transform at least 60 percent of the Olympic Park into other development projects. The Aquatic Center, Olympic Velodrome, and the Olympic Arena are to form what Rio’s planners call South America’s first Olympic training center.
The decision by the United States Olympic Committee not to consider a bid for the 2020 games is firmly rooted in money. For years, the USOC has been locked in a bitter dispute over the split of revenues with other Olympic federations. With the 2016 defeat still fresh in their minds, most observers believed another rejection of the United States was a virtual certainty until a firm agreement was reached.
“With such little time left in the process, we don’t believe we could pull together a winning bid that could serve the Olympic and Paralympic movement,” said Patrick Sandusky, USOC spokesman.
The last games on U.S. soil were the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002.