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Chicago pitching for 2016 Olympics

Chicago pitching for 2016 Olympics

Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 3:29 pm
By: By STEPHEN WILSON, AP Sports Writer

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Chicago led off the presentations today of the four cities bidding for the 2016 Olympics, stressing strong support from the White House and offering financial guarantees for the multi-billion dollar project.
Bid leader Pat Ryan and Mayor Richard M. Daley led a six-person delegation that made a 45-minute formal pitch to members of the International Olympic Committee, followed by a question-and-answer session that went 15 minutes beyond the 45-minute time slot.
“It was a good discussion,” Ryan said. “I think the team did really well. There were lots of good questions, very healthy dialogue. We would have been worried if there weren’t a lot of questions.”
Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid were to deliver their presentations later.
The closed-door sessions, held at the Olympic Museum and attended by 93 of the IOC’s 107 members, are seen as a crucial test ahead of the final vote by the IOC assembly in Copenhagen on Oct. 2.
It’s the first time the IOC has arranged such a forum for bid cities.
With IOC delegates barred from visiting bid cities since the Salt Lake City scandal, this gives bid teams a chance to explain their plans directly to the voters and answer their questions.
On Thursday, the cities will set up exhibition rooms at a Lausanne hotel where they can show videos and meet with the members individually.
Ryan said Chicago showed a video featuring Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in which she reiterated his support for the Olympic bid.
As with all U.S. bids, the Olympics in Chicago would not be underwritten by the federal government.
“No. 1 on people’s minds is the economic situation and we feel we put together a very innovative and secure program to mitigate the risk,” said Bob Ctvrtlik, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s vice president of international relations and a former IOC member.
Senior Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said Chicago answered the financial questions “more than adequately.”
“There were no doubts left in the presentation about the capacity for Chicago to finance the games,” he said.
Gosper said members asked questions on a wide range of issues, including accommodations, transportation, budgets, immigration entry and anti-doping plans.
“They did a very professional job,” he said. “The presentation of the venues on the waterfront of Chicago is almost unprecedented.”
Ctvrtlik said the questions showed the members’ informed knowledge of the bid dossiers.
“We felt we were able to answer the questions,” he said. “In some areas, we need to improve a little bit, but we were very pleased with our presentation.”
Three members of the group “No Games Chicago,” which argues the Olympics are bad for cities financially and can displace thousands of people, set up a stand outside the museum and handed out leaflets opposing the project.


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