Most places on earth have more pressing matters to attend to than the Olympics, but Chicago will lose its reason for being if it doesn't get the 2016 Olympics. A few weeks ago I was talking to a project manager who works for the city and he says all capital improvement projects in the city have come to a halt because, as he told me, "It's already a done deal. We're getting the Olympics."
The IOC announcement awarding the games to Chicago has so far only taken place inside Mayor Daley's head. Meanwhile, the IOC has issued a sort of mid-term report card, and all four candidates (Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Toyko) got slapped around. In brief, here's what the IOC said to the candidate cities:
Chicago: You call yourself a world capital of architecture? Where's your Bird's Nest? Where's your Aquatics Center with the weird blue glow? Oh, if you manage to build one of those, be sure to tear it down when the Olympics are over. We don't want any empty, unused venues to embarrass us again, like the Greeks did. And your public transit system still sucks. Not that we're going to be taking public transportation, mind you.
Madrid: We like your city and we like your venues, but we've already had enough of working with you. You're even more annoying than the clowns who put on the Atlanta Olympics. Get your act together or the games are going elsewhere.
Rio: The beach volleyball site checks out, and we're tired of hearing about how the games only seem to go to developed nations in the northern hemisphere. But your plan to renovate the entire city for the games kind of proves our point about why we don't let developing nations host the games. Heck, even formerly developed nations like Britain are having trouble remodeling an entire city for the games. And you want to use cruise ships as hotels? Are you kidding?
Tokyo: You already have a lot of money set aside, and we love money. Good Lord, do we love money! But we also want to be loved, and we're not feeling the love from the people of Japan. Only 23 percent of Japanese want the Olympics to come to Tokyo. We happen to know more people want the Jonas Brothers to come to Tokyo. We're the Olympics. We go back to ancient times. Have some respect.