In the end, not even the bedazzling glow of an appeal by beloved President Barack Obama could sway the International Olympic Committee. Chicago is out, Rio is in. So much for all those ‘Chalkie’ t-shirt sales. So much for a new corruption fiasco revenue stream for Chi-town. In a fitting bit of irony, the Chicago bid appears to have been out-politicked by the international community within the IOC. Too bad we still don’t have Blago heading up our fine state; with him (and his hair) given free rein to implement the Chicago Way and work all the bid-angles along with Mayor Daley, who can doubt the IOC would’ve eventually been persuaded.
From where I’m sitting, south of I-80, this failure is a good thing. Sure the Olympics would’ve brought jobs, cash, and publicity to Chicago, but at what price? Veteran Tribune Columnist John Kass knows the score. He was ready to invest heavily in T-shirt sales along these lines: ‘Chicago 2016’ on the front, ‘Terra Haute 2020’ on the back. Why, you ask? Because, as he so eloquently puts it:
As every Chicago politician knows, Terre Haute, Ind., is home to a federal prison. That’s where a few would be tossed after boodling their way to Olympic fortunes. And why 2020? That’s how long it would take for grand juries to do their work.
Yeah, that would’ve been fun. And did you know, informed downstate voter, that your state legislature attempted to implement a bill that would basically commit $250 million of state funding to the inevitable cost overruns associated with the Olympic build-up? It’s a moot point now, but Illinois has enough financial problems without adding this to the mixer.
The Olympics would provide a distraction – welcome for some, but not for us – and some revenue to Chicago. Would it be enough to help them manage their own sorry finances? Call me cynical, but I’m guessing most of that revenue would end up being pissed away to waste and corruption anyway. One way or another, I would’ve ended up paying for it, as would every other Illinoisan. No thanks, Chicago already gets enough of my tax money. We’re already looking at a tax increase next year to pay for our bloated, inefficient, debt-ridden state government. So let’s worry a little more about applying some fiscal responsibility and stewardship to our state, and a little less about stuff like the Olympics.
Would we have attended the games and some of the event had they made it to Chicago? Sure. But there’s only one international sporting event I truly care about bringing to our fair shores in the next decade. Yeah, you guessed it…