Today the Olympic committee announced their pick for the 2016 games. Chicago was a contender along with Tokyo, Madrid and Rio. Chicago was eliminated in the first round, next Tokyo, finally Madrid was eliminated leaving Rio as the winner to host the 2016 Olympics.
News broke via Twitter around 10:40 a.m. I just finished with a grad student at DePaul, we were going over web marketing tactics, got my coffee and logged onto Twitter. The first tweet I read was "I think I am going to cry". And...I knew.
Why did I care so much?
Though it may not seem like it to those who know me, I have a tremendous amount of civic pride. I really love Chicago. Having said that, I should tell you that I don't like sports, I don't eat deep dish pizza, I don't drink Old Style (or beer in general for that matter). I think Chicago is a wonderful balance of affordable, cosmopolitan living, beautiful architecture and landscape, and most of all, opportunity.
I worked for years as a volunteer with the Chicago International Film Festival. When the festival would come to Chicago, I would often volunteer in the hospitality suite, where the international press, actors, directors, producers, etc., would visit each day. Time and time, I would hear people say that they could not believe how big Chicago was or how impressed they were by the architecture. This shocked me, it was clear that people living outside the US (and often times living in the US) did not know anything about Chicago.
As a global citizen, I was excited for the Olympics. I wanted to feel that international competition. I wanted to see thousands of people from all over the world walking my streets in eager anticipation of their home country athletes competing successfully. I was excited for the development. I was excited for the potential growth. But most of all, I was really excited to showcase my beautiful city for the world to see.
Some reasons why I love Chicago
- Food. We have top notch dining in Chicago. Probably some of the best in the world.
- Architecture. Chicago is home to some of the "most forward thinking architecture in the world."
- The Arts. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is one of the leading opera houses in the country and certainly a contender worldwide. Not only do they produce incredible productions with globally recognized talent, the opera house is also one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world from an architectural standpoint. The entire building is a hybrid of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. I could go on and on regarding the arts but I will only mention one other. The Art Institute founded in 1879, the collection encompasses more than 5000 works of human expression from around the world.
- The Park District. Over 7600 acres of park area with 24 miles of beach area. Thanks to Aaron Montgomery Ward, Grant Park has been protected since 1836 to remain "forever open, clear and free". I hope Aaron Montgomery Ward continues to protect Grant Park from his grave.
I could keep this list going all day. I just wanted to express my feelings for the Olympic bid - why I wanted the Olympics here, the importance of the Olympics and my love for the city of Chicago. I wish the best for Rio and I hope that the people of Chicago will work to improve their government so that we can continue to grow and prosper as a city.
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