October 2, 2009

Chicago Loses Olympic Bid

Chicago was the first city eliminated in the International Olympic Committee's meeting to determine where the 2016 Olympics will be held. Rio de Janiero was voted the winner an hour-and-a-half later.

For many involved in and covering the bid, the surprise was not so much that Chicago lost but that it lost so early. Last night, news outlets had advertised that the announcement would be made just before noon, central time, causing many to believe they had more time to find out Chicago's Olympic fate. Instead, Chicago's bid recieved the fewest votes of the four contending cities, which also included Tokyo and Madrid, in the first round of voting.

Second-year Liss Weldon was one of those who thought she'd have more time. Weldon had come to Hutch to watch the Olympic coverage, only to see shot after shot of dejected Chicagoans, including the news anchors, indicating Chicago's loss.

"I was more surprised, not upset," Weldon said. "For the past two years, I'd kind of gotten the impression it was a sure thing."

Weldon is from South Bend, IN, and had heard on the radio this morning that, were Chicago to have won the bid, northern Indiana and southern Wisconsin would have benefited. She was disappointed in the loss, she added.

By 11:05, Weldon was the only person left sitting in front of the screen set up in Hutch who'd come to watch the bid, according to . In fact, it didn't seem many in the University had come out for the party, either in the Reynold's Club or downtown, as they had for the 2008 election. Another person sitting in front of the ORCSA-constructed screen, math grad-student Benjamin Leider, had not come to watch the Olympics, but turned to it when he saw it was on, as was the case with each of the other people sitting in front of the tv.

Was Leider disappointed? "Maybe a little bit. I'm not from around here so I had no great investment in it but it would have been nice," he said.

According to Chris Muldoon, a CAPS employee assigned to the screen in Hutch, 30 to 40 students watched the first, disappointing vote, half of whom he estimated were there for that purpose.