Chicago vies for Olympics in 2016

Stacey Vanek Smith Oct 2, 2009
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Olympics logo John Gichigi/Getty Images

Chicago vies for Olympics in 2016

Stacey Vanek Smith Oct 2, 2009
Olympics logo John Gichigi/Getty Images
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: A little later, we’ll hear from the International Olympic Committee
on which city will get the nod for the 2016 Summer Games. Tokyo, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago are in the running.
Officials in the Windy City have been lobbying hard for those games. Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith reports.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: Chicago has been slammed by the recession. So hard that the Olympic Committee worried the city wouldn’t be able to get the financing needed to be ready for the 2016 Summer Games.

But the privately financed Chicago Olympic committee says it can raise the money. All it needs is the Olympics.

Beth White: It’s the perfect time to do it, when times are tough.

Beth White is the Director of Sports Venues and Operations for Chicago’s Olympic committee. She points out that if Chicago were picked, the city would get a billion dollars from the Olympic Committee right away — not to mention sponsorship money and tourism revenue. And, she says, investors will build if the bid comes:

White: I’ve been in meeting with the building and trades unions and they’ve got 28 percent of their workforce sitting home now, and two projects are waiting. And if the thumbs up goes to Chicago, those project move forward.

Other projects could move forward, too. White says many commercial projects that ran out of funding during the recession could get the money they need to be completed if investors know the games were coming to town.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

Chiotakis: Critics to Chi-town getting the nod say it would wreak traffic havoc, cause a budget migraine in a city already scraping by. Columnist Eric Zorn in this morning’s Chicago Tribune compared the debate to one of a couple thinking about having kids: the whole cost versus joy argument.

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