Final Project

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Final Project

  1. 1. The Spirit of a City and Why the 2016 Summer Olympics Deserve to be Held in Chicago
  2. 2. By: John O’Donnell Back on June 4, 2008, Chicago was selected as one of four candidate cities to potentially host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games along with Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Thus began the courting process of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which initially evaluated Chicago capable of only beating Rio de Janeiro as the most suitable city to host the event. Yet with Europe hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, it is unlikely the IOC will choose to host three consecutive Olympic games on the same continent, which doesn’t boast well for Madrid. Furthermore, some IOC members believe Tokyo’s chances are small since voting for the 2016 games takes place only one year removed from Beijing’s 2008 Summer Games. So when the IOC visited Chicago back in April, it was perhaps the most anticipated visit of the four candidate cities. What the members likely learned would probably surprise even some Chicago residents. For starters, the IOC may not have expected Chicago to be so culturally and ethnically diverse. Chicago is home to at least 26 different ethnic populations of 25,000 residents or more, and usually cities full of such differing lifestyles bode well in holding an international event, as it is likely to draw people from
  3. 3. more cities across the world. Also, after holding an Olympic Games in a city (Beijing) with air pollution levels on an average day to be five times above what the World Health Organization considers a standard in safety, the IOC will be looking to present a far more environmentally sound city to the world. Enter Chicago, which currently ranks as one of the greenest cities in the world. Chicago has over 12,000 acres committed to public parks, as well as over 2.5 million square feet of rooftop gardens on top of its skyscrapers. Meanwhile, the Chicago Climate Exchange is the first and only carbon-emission trading floor, and recently, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded four city projects it’s highest rating of “Platinum.” None of the other candidate cities can even attempt to match such figures. Certainly, the IOC saw why Chicago takes pride in itself on having one of the worlds most lucrative and innovative restaurant scenes, not to mention legendary deep-dish pizza, Italian beef, and Chicago-style hot dogs. In addition the host site has plenty of destinations for tourists to visit when they aren’t attending Olympic events. With all the museums, theater, and music that Chicago is surrounded with, there undoubtedly would be floods of people should the Games come to the city. Chicago is also best capable to handle the large crowds, as it not only holds over 100,000 hotel rooms, but has a public transportation system in the “L” trains and buses that connect the public to more than 230 suburbs. Rio de Janeiro, on the other hand, is unable to match such lodging, being forced to propose using cruise ships and condominium apartments to overcome hotel room shortages. But perhaps most helpful for the city of Chicago is that public transportation on the Blue and Orange lines of the Chicago Transit Authority can cart visitors from O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, respectively, to the city limits. Unexpectedly to many outsiders, there are 26 miles of public beaches and shoreline in Chicago, not to mention 570 parks and 17 lagoons where visitors can enjoy themselves with activities such as fishing or bird watching. Tokyo, in contrast, has fewer than 20 recommended parks. Finally, for a city to host an international sporting event, it helps that its citizens follow sports extensively, and that is most definitely that case in Chicago. From football to lacrosse, the city has some of the most passionate fan bases in the world for its seven professional sports teams, not to mention some of the most memorable athletes ever to compete in sporting competition, such as Michael Jordan or Walter Payton. The bottom line is it is time for America to host the Summer Games once more, and with the experience the United States already has in hosting the Games combined with the infrastructure and skilled labor force already present in the city, Chicago would be the perfect choice to capture the Olympic spirit in 2016.
  4. 4. On a beautiful day at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, Illinois, Rob Hunger and Casey O’Neil (above) play a small game of “Ultimate Frisbee,” while Steve Gonnella (left) jumps up to set up a volleyball shot. All three men believe that the beaches of Chicago are an underestimated component as the city competes for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. “When I first moved to Chicago, I had no idea how popular the beaches were here especially on the weekends,” Hunger said. “Now, I find myself coming here almost every Saturday as long as the weather is nice.” O’Neil added, “I think we really appreciate our chances to soak up the summer. After a brutal winter like the one we just had, it almost makes it more special when you have a chance to come out here. It helps that the girls are hot too.” Forbes recently rated Chicago as the th 25 fittest city in America – better than other cities
  5. 5. Established in 1943, the original Pizzeria Uno in River North (right) houses some of the most famous deep dish pizza in the world and is a staple in Chicago’s reputation as having the ability to cater to the appetite of any tourist. And actor Jim Belushi, a Chicago-native, has repeatedly declared that the best Chicago-style hot dogs can be found at Portillo’s restaurant chain, which was founded in 1967 at Villa Park, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. Such delicacies are impossible to find in any of the other candidate cities for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Uno’s photo taken May 16, 2009.
  6. 6. A picture perfect display proving that Chicago is a metropolis that can hold capacity to an Olympic sized crowd should they be selected to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2016 without sacrificing green space, such as Grant Park here, and other environmentally friendly accommodations. May 29, 2009. DePaul University photo by John O’Donnell.
  7. 7. Crown Fountain (left) illuminates nearly 1,000 individual Chicagoans in Millenium Park, demonstrating the vast diversity of people ethnically and culturally in the city, which is likely to make more people across the globe feel right at home while visiting for the Summer 2016 Olympic Games should they be held in Chicago. Meanwhile, Cloud Gate ([below] dubbed “The Bean” by local residents) is one of the many wonders of Chicago waiting to be explored by potential visitors, appropriately reflecting the city on it’s stainless steel structure designed by Anish Kapoor. May 25, 2009. DePaul University photos by John O’Donnell.
  8. 8. A train car comes through Chicago Transit Authority’s Damen “L” Blue Line stop (above). Trains usually run through the platform every 2-7 minutes, with an average travel time of 8 minutes to the Clark/Lake Blue Line stop in downtown Chicago. Residents of the rapidly growing Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods in Chicago will recognize the entrance (below), as the station’s proximity to the downtown area helped boost the population in recent years. Similar stations already hosting 1,189 more train cars around the city would allow for easy transportation to those visiting Chicago should they host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. May 25, 2009. DePaul University photo taken by John O’Donnell.
  9. 9. Perhaps the best display of why Chicago deserves the Olympics – it’s passionate sports fans. Here, Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs tosses a ball towards the crowd at the end of an inning as the Cubs hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers May 29, 2009. The fans are more passionate than ever despite the Cubs not having won a World Series Championship in over 100 years, representing how loyal people are to their sporting clubs in the city. DePaul University photo by John O’Donnell.

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