Olympics Network Could Handicap Chicago's 2016 Bid

Former USOC chairman doing Chicago's bid no favors

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Chicago 2016 is struggling, and the USOC's bright ideas are why.

    No matter where you look in Chicago -- the side of a bus, up at the loop's yawning buildings, lampposts in Lincoln Park -- you will be reminded of one solitary fact: the city is determined to bring the 2016 Olympic Games here. We're still not sure what "Let Friendship Shine" even means, all we know is that we can't get it out of our head.

    There is plenty of local enthusiasm for Chicago's Olympic bid. There is also plenty of disdain. For every person thrilled at the notion of hosting a historic sporting contest, there are those who'd rather not be inconvenienced for two weeks. Everyone's got an opinion, but like it or not, Mayor Daley wants these Olympic Games, and there's very little local residents can now do about it. If you're hoping the 2016 Olympics bid fails, your only hope remains with the International Olympic Committee.

    It turns out those hopes are pretty well-founded. The USOC's announcement of a television network in partnership with Comcast designed to show Olympic sports year-round royally infuriated the IOC, which had warned the USOC not to move forward with the network until the i's were crossed and the t's were dotted.

    Today, in an interview with the New York Times, Ueberroth attempted to defend the network under a weak guise. He claims that Olympic sports like volleyball and fencing could be just as popular as mixed martial arts and and poker, which falls under the category of "not really true at all," and he likewise claimed that the IOC would settle in with the cable network plan once they realized what sponsors wanted. Which is also maybe not true. At the very least, it's specious.

    At this point, if Chicago 2016 happens, it will have more to do with President Obama's global popularity and Chicago's strengths as a city and less to do with any strong case put together by the USOC. Hey, Peter? USOC? Why don't you guys sit a few plays out. We got this.

    Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.