Olympic Committee is Feeling Chicago's Dream

Inspection team impressed by concept, vision of bid

They came, they saw, and now they're leaving.

Members of the International Olympic Committee inspection team completed their tour of Chicago on Tuesday.  The team ended with a news conference at the Fairmont Hotel, where they took reporters' questions for the first time.

"We felt honestly that the concept, the vision and the love of the sports were there," inspection team Chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel said. "We felt the whole community was behind the bid, backing the bid."

The Chicago bid takes into account that the IOC doesn't want to leave its host city with mammoth, unused facilities after the Games are over, El Moutawakel said.

"We feel they are splitting between existing venues and temporary venues to leave a legacy for the city of Chicago," she said.

The team's visit was tightly choreographed, and it seemed like every time they got near news crews there was either someone banging a drum, a band was playing or children were cheering.

However, IOC members didn't see a protest opposing the Games, outside a star-studded event at the Art Institute last night. The committee entered through a side door, but they did invite the protesters to speak Tuesday. Bob Quellos, who was part of a no-games delegation that met with the IOC for about half an hour, said the committee was open to what they had to say.

"We made our point, simple and clear," Quellos said. "They were very kind and friendly to us, and they welcomed everything we had to say."

Many of the anti-Olympic groups said they fear being pushed out of their neighborhoods by Olympic developments, but the mayor said that's nonsense.

"We're not displacing one person in the city of Chicago," Daley said. "We're not taking one home from anyone."

Daley preferred to talk about Monday night's gala, where he said Oprah stole the show.

"One of the (IOC) members had her cell phone. She called Morocco and put her daughter on the phone to talk to Oprah. Not too many cities anywhere in the world can do that," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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