So I've only been in Chicago for a bit over a month (today actually marks the exact five-week mark) but I have to say I really love this city, which I think I've already said already (it's already ready already...). If there was something I loved before coming here, well, there'd be a lot of things, but the Olympics would be among them. I've mentioned in here before how, come Olympic time, I'll watch pretty much every single sport. Even catching just the tail-end of summer in the Windy City I can grasp what an amazing Summer venue this makes, Olympics aside. So throw in sports and how could it not be even better right? Not so fast.
I'll ignore that I might not even be in Chicago come 2016, let alone on this planet since that is a sort of selfish and cynical foresight and actually has nothing to do with why I might not want the Olympics to come here. Instead let's take a look at what atmosphere the Olympics really creates. My buddy Jon sent me an article in which David Zirin raises some good points. Yes, existing real estate and parks will be knocked down or built over to create Olympic facilities. Nevermind the displacement of the people who might be living in such areas as Zirin points out, this will create plenty of construction jobs at a bare minimum, will it not? This is true, but what will Chicago do with these facilities when the Olympics are through? Recent host nation China is struggling to recoup the cost of the $450 million Bird's Nest Stadium .
The Nest looks nice at night, but since the Olympics it's a bit of a barren blight.
It's a little worse when you throw in Mayor Daley's assertion that any costs that go over bid will be covered by taxpayers...Oh really? If there's one thing, or at least a thing, I've noted in Chicago, it is the ridiculous 10.25% sales tax. It's also on seemingly everything, including groceries, although it might just be on some of the sugary products I purchase that don't quite constitute food. There's a lot of cool free shit to do in Chicago, which I am sure these taxes help fund, but I can't help but think I'm getting dicked daily by Daley...
Right, and then there's the corruption surrounding getting Olympic bids (see: Salt Lake City), and Hell it'll take effect in constructing facilities and sponsorship as well. And while this might not be the most solid news source, it's a glimpse into Chicago's history of corruption, and the corruption here is no real secret.
But wait, won't these problems exist anywhere the Olympics are taken? The answer is probably yes, but the implications are it could be a little worse here. And so, regardless of the decision of the IOC come Friday, I'll be unsure whether or not to celebrate. One thing's for certain, I'll be drinking either way.