Related News

Home » Sports » Olympics

Chicago 2016 bid impresses evaluation team

THE head of the International Olympic Committee's evaluation team said yesterday she was "impressed" by Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Games but gave no hint as to whether it had an edge over its three rival candidates.

Praising Chicago officials' hospitality and hard work in presenting their vision for the Games over a whirlwind six days, bid commission chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco gave little away as to whether Chicago had an edge over Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Madrid.

"We felt, honestly, that the concept, the vision and the love of the sports were there," she told a news conference.

"We have been most impressed by what Chicago has to offer to the Olympic games and to the Olympic movement," she said.

The 13-member commission evaluates 17 themes for each of the four cities, including aspects such as the suitability of venues, financial considerations and the legacy left behind for residents.

The commission will visit each bid city and its written reports to the IOC will be made available to the public in September.

IOC members, who do not make site visits and rely on the evaluation team for their information and impressions, will then vote on Oct. 2 in Copenhagen on which city will host the Games.

"We are leaving with a very strong impression that the bid is a strong one. But there is only one winner. This is what I want to emphasise," Moutawakel said.

"There are four very strong bidders. But at the end there is only one winner."


She described Chicago as a "vibrant" city where she perceived a love of sport extending from the amateur ranks to the professional teams. The city's Olympic plan was "compact" and the distances between venues "reasonable", she added.

The commission was feted by Mayor Richard Daley with help from celebrities such as television talk show host Oprah Winfrey and current and former Olympians.

Another perceived advantage of Chicago's bid is that it is the home of popular US President Barack Obama. His house is not far from the proposed site for the 80,000 seat Olympic stadium, which will be largely dismantled after the Games.

Sunday's tour of proposed venue sites was marred only by freezing temperatures and a rain-snow mix, though that did not seem to faze members.

Gilbert Felli of Switzerland, the executive director of the Olympic Games, said the IOC understood that weather and air quality in a host city would vary depending on the day. Air quality was considered a risk for last year's Beijing Games.

Felli said he met with two sets of protest groups who want more attention paid to urban ills and infrastructure, and he was persuaded their complaints will be addressed.

Felli pronounced the proposed Olympic village along the Lake Michigan shoreline "a great site for the athletes" though he acknowledged new building often meant displacing some.

Mayor Daley later insisted no one would be displaced by the Olympic project, which the city has said would generate US$22 billion in economic activity.

The commission members refused to discuss any shortcomings in Chicago's bid and gave no indication whether the city's US$750 million financial guarantee -- still needing a US$500 million insurance policy -- was adequate or not.

Financial concerns have come to the forefront amid the global economic downturn and the difficulties being experienced by Vancouver and London, which host the 2010 Winter and 2012 Summer Games.

"I think the momentum is quite good. It's still a long way off -- six months," said Chicago bid chairman Patrick Ryan of the IOC vote.

"We're not deluding ourselves. They're going on to three great cities."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend