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Countdown to 2016: Olympic bid preview, Chicago

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

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The odds haven't changed much in the 13 months we've been handicapping the race to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Check out our previous editions here and here.) With the IOC's vote on Friday, Fourth-Place Medal will take an in-depth look this week at each of the four bid cities before presenting our final prediction at the end of the week, hours before the announcement. First up, Chicago.

Pros: Will have been 20 years in between Summer Olympics in United States/North America ... Obama is said to have improved America's image in Europe (where a majority of IOC voters are from) and will be attending the vote ... American television rights are up for bid in 2016, going to Chicago would spark massive bidding war between NBC and ESPN.

Cons: Anti-American bias still prevalent in the IOC ... would be third American Olympics in 32 years ... tepid support in Chicago, with only 47 percent of residents stating that they want the Games to come to the city (versus 45 percent against) ... bid is heavily reliant on public transit.

Biggest plus: Looming United States TV rights negotiations are bound to appeal to the greed of IOC members. (It's always about money.)

Biggest minus: Many members think the USOC takes an unfair cut of those dollars, which may help breed even more resentment of the United States than already exists in the notoriously Eurocentric organization. (See parenthetical above.)

Famous schmoozers: Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Richard Daley

Twitter-length summary: A vote for Chicago is a vote for the United States, which may be the bid's biggest (and only) problem. Still, CHI is one of favorites.

Odds: 8/11

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