chicago, la and san fran battle it out for olympic glory
Chicago is now down to the one of the last 3 American cities vying to be the countries bid for the 2016 Olympics. Los Angeles and San Francisco, both places I have been recently are the other two.
The city has announced a revised blueprint
, which would include a 95,000-seat stadium in Washington Park
at the cost of $300m. Other changes would see a whitewater slalom course in Lincoln Park and a five pool aquatic centre at UIC. Football (the world kind) is slated to be held at the wonderful Soldier Field stadium.
The lakefront will be used as a carrot for the US Olympic Committee, with it playing a central role in the proposed plans.
The decision on which bid goes forward will be made at the end of the year with the 2016 host city being announced until 2009
As I have good recent knowledge of each of the bidding cities, I thought I would give my (hopefully not too bias) views on the pros and cons of each:Los Angeles
has both the advantage and stigma of hosting the games twice before, lastly in 1984. Those games unusually produced a large profit. Many of its proposed venues are already built, such as the Coliseum
and the Staples Center
and of course LA does have that sparkly Hollywood image which will be easy to sell. With the ocean, hills and mountains it would also provide a stunning backdrop.
The downside of LA is the fact that everything is so spread out. The over reliance on cars and not mass transportation would need a cultural change and of course they are all mad as a box of frogs!
As for San Francisco
, it does exude a friendly persona to the rest of the world and it sure has some stunning topography. It did miss out on the 2012 bid (to New York) and was heavily criticised for choosing venues that were too spread out. They'll need to overcome this and much of their plan has yet to be announced although the new 49ers stadium
will be central to their proposal.
That leaves me with Chicago
, where compactness is the linchpin of its bid. Nearly all venues will be concentrated along the city's beautiful lakefront. This would contrast with recent games, such as Sydney 2000, which have staged major events in a park outside of the city.
1/3rd of the athletes would stay within a 5-minute drive of their competition venues, while 85% would be within 15 minutes. This is in contrast to both LA and San Fran, where the 'village' is expected to sprawl over a far wider area. Chicago is also fully aware of the blessing that is it's vast lakefront and big open spaces plus, and unlike LA, its livable and energetic downtown area, which the bid committee will leverage heavily.
Finance could be a problem for the windy city though with nearly $2 billion needed in privately financed construction and of course it may lack a bit of glamour. They are also newbies to this whole political Olympic bid process, however the dogged determination of the mayor will make sure that Chicago's efforts will not go down without a fight.