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Maggie Hendricks

Looking at the bid for Chicago 2016: everything else

Fourth-Place Medal

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A few years ago, I wrote a letter to the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley. I asked him to consider putting up Chicago as a candidate for the Olympics in 2016, and then outlined the many reasons why Chicago would be perfect for the games. One month later, Mayor Daley announced that Chicago would seek the bid for the Olympics in 2016. Coincidence? You decide as FPM takes you through Chicago's bid and chances to win the games. We've looked at venues and layout, and leadership. Today, we catch up on everything else.

Location: In the middle of the U.S. and serviced by two huge airports, Chicago is an easy-to-get-to kinda place. Say what you will about O'Hare, it still accommodates millions of travelers every year. New runways are opening soon to help with the congestion. Midway Airport, which will be popular with domestic travelers, is close to many of the proposed sites for the games. Chicago is also very accessible by rail, bus and car. Maybe by 2016 we can use that snazzy jet pack that Los Angeles used in the 1984 Opening Ceremony!

Hospitality and dining: After Mary Carillo's many reports on eating scorpions and the like, clearly, eating is an important part of the Olympic experience. Chicago has you covered. Though it is known for pizza and hot dogs, but we also have nationally recognized restaurants like Alinea and Schwa. As for hotels, there is a reason why Chicago hotels have been named the best in the world. Though you can replicate the amenities and services available in each hotel, you can't replicate the people. Yes, we're big-city, metropolitan and sometimes a little jaded, but we still have that Midwestern charm. You can't get that at a hotel in Madrid.

The people: This is probably the most important part of a bid. As New York City found out, you cannot win the Olympics if the people are not behind it. In a Zogby Poll conducted in April, 84% of Chicagoans say that they want the games here. Chicagoans have shown up en masse for every event put together by Chicago 2016 and World Sport Chicago. We are crazy sports fans, and support many different random sports beyond the Bears, Cubs and Sox. When World Sport Chicago staged the first Chicago Cup, an international wrestling meet at Northwestern University, 3,000 people showed up despite a raging snowstorm. Chicagoans are also ridiculously proud of their city, and can't wait to show it off. The Olympics would give us a chance like none other to do that.

So, world, give us a shot. I can't guarantee that Michael Jordan will fly through the air to light the torch, or that we will be able to control the weather, but I can guarantee that you would have a great time. I'll see you there!

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