CHICAGO -- One year from Thursday, the four competing cities for the 2016 Olympic Games will learn if their years of hard work and campaigning have paid off. The decision will be announced in Copenhagen, Denmark, by the International Olympic Committee.
The Chicago bid committee marked the occasion by handing out countdown clocks in various neighborhoods, schools and at the Danish consulate. Members of the Rio 2016 team began their celebration Wednesday with a ceremony featuring Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and athletes from the Brazilan Olympic team. Tokyo marked the occasion with a downtown rally which featured their nation's Olympic medalists. In Madrid, plaques were to be presented to 26 new Olympic sponsors.
While on its face the competition appears to be a massive public relations effort, at its heart it is closer to a political campaign. The four candidate cities are looking for votes, from the members of the International Olympic Committee which will make the final host city decision. Mayor Richard Daley, 2016 chief Patrick Ryan and staffers from the 2016 team made their largest contacts with IOC members thus far at the Beijing Olympic Games in August. Next week, Chicago 2016 and the three other competing cities will make presentations at the Pan American Sports Association meeting in Mexico.
In February, Chicago and the other cities will submit their formal candidacy files, detailed documents explaining how they would stage the games. In April the IOC will conduct formal on-site inspection visits of all four bid cities. Then, in June, the candidates will give formal presentations to the IOC at the Olympic Headquarters in Switzerland.