Chicago 2016 Olympics
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Oct
13

By Dave Adams

CHICAGO–Friday, Oct. 2 was not only a big day for the future of Olympic competitors, but also for the Paralympic athletes who will compete in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. Paralympics is a division of the U.S. Olympic committee that allows athletes with physical and visual disabilities to compete in elite-level sports. Divided into classifications based on the type and severity of their disability, athletes compete against one another in games such as sitting volleyball, sled hockey, and table tennis.

“The Paralympics is the ultimate level of competition for athletes with disabilities. It brings people from all over the world together as athletes with one common goal: to win the gold medal,” said Paralympic competitor Kurt Smith.

The name “Paralympics” literally means “parallel to the Olympics,” and because of the fact that the Paralympics are held in the same city, at the same venues, and in the same year as the Olympics, the name fits.

For many Paralympians, Chicago as a candidate for the host city provided hope and excitement. “If the Olympics were held in Chicago, I think Paralympic athletes would have received the most exposure they have ever had in this country,” said Paralympian Curtis Lease.

“This just bums me out so much because I think Chicago would have done so well with the Paralympics. It is such an accessible city and I think it would have brought the Paralympics into a brighter light in the United States,” said Paralympian Hope Lewellen.

Shock and sadness fell over the crowd as Chicago was eliminated by the International Olympic Committee. “I feel stunned. I don’t understand what happened, and I probably never will,” said Lewellen.

Even though paralympians are disappointed by the setbacks caused by Chicago being eliminated, the Games must go on. “The U.S. doesn’t televise the Paralympics nearly as much in other countries as they do the Olympics. I thought if the Olympics were held in Chicago, we would get more television coverage that would really help our movement,” said Lewellen.

With less media coverage in the United States, outreach to the disabled community and the promotion of healthy lifestyle will be more difficult for Paralympians to accomplish. “I envisioned new athletes in the Chicago area participating in Paralympic sports and getting more people in the disabled community to become more physically active,” said Smith.

These setbacks may be disappointing, but the Paralympians will not let this stop them from doing what they love and promoting their movement. “The Paralympics truly embody the Olympic spirit. We don’t get paid big endorsements like the Olympians do– we do this because we love it,” said Lewellen. “It would be nice to get more coverage to show our hard work and make the Paralympics more recognizable, but we do this because we have passion and no matter where the games are, we will bring along our spirit.”

Some tried to see the good side of the disappointing news that Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Games, not Chicago. “South America has never had the Olympics so I think this is really good for them,” said Lease.

Paralympian Ella Chafee did not feel as optimistic. “I do not have high hopes for Rio at all. Back in 1968 when the Olympics were held in Mexico, the Paralympic games were cancelled due to political unrest, and Brazil is in a sort of political upset that does not make me feel comfortable with the fate of the games,” she said.

Despite Rio not being the first choice for many U.S. Paralympians, athletes are still optimistic that they will eventually get the same recognition as able-bodied Olympians. “Words can’t describe the experience I’ve had with the Paralympics,” said Smith. “I feel honored, privileged and proud.

May
19

 

http://vimeo.com/4712236

May
19

http://vimeo.com/4712258

May
18

The Olympics coming to Chicago may no longer be a pipedream…

A source close to the IOC recently said, upon the IOC’s completion of it’s site inspections, that Chicago is still the front-runner in the race to host the Summer Games of 2016.

Wait… Front-runner? “Chicago’s to lose?” Everyone I spoke with was so skeptical about our potentially hosting the Olympics… I doubt that they were just trying to avoid jinxing it.

However strong the bid may be, there are some other factors to the bid that supporters may have to worry about: public support of the Games and Obama’s influence.

“To vote out Chicago would mean they had snubbed the most powerful person in the world and to vote in Chicago would lend weight to those within the movement who want state leaders barred from being present at such occasions” said the source.

Public support of the Games continues to be an issue, but several IOC officials say that public support isn’t a factor that will ruin any bid.Canadian IOC member Beckie Scott said,

“I think over 50 per cent is probably a strong enough number for a bid city to go into the election with high hopes. There are so many other factors that go into it. As long as a majority of people say they want the Olympics, then it’s O.K.”

Read more about the importance of public support here.

– Dave Adams

 

 

May
17

Amidst talk of how much the Olympics will cost the city of Chicago, neighboring cities and states are trying to find ways to make money off of the second city’s opportunity.

Certain areas out of state have already been picked to host certain events should the 2016 games come to Chicago. Madison, WI has been tapped to host mountain biking and cycling events, while Old Mill Creek, IL would host the equestrian events.*** Now, these out of state locations are looking to make money from housing athletes, tourists, and trainers.

This very nice color scheme may become familiar to some lucky Olympians.

This very nice color scheme may become familiar to some lucky Olympians.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is one possible location where athletes are likely to train. Representatives from UW-Whitewater have met with Chicago 2016, and have been told that their facilities have a good chance of being used by athletes for up to six weeks before the games.

“They’re going to want to come in and use our venues for training, residence halls for housing and dining services to feed the athletes,” UW-Whitewater Athletics Director Paul Plinske said. “They’re going to create a home away from home, and college campuses are the ideal for that.”

Chicago 2016 has also been in contact with a number of Chicago universities and colleges, so it seems DePaul won’t be the only campus affected by the Olympics, and Illinois won’t be the only state.

Chicago and the entire Midwest will be put in the spotlight, that is, if Chicago is allowed to host the games in 2016.

You can read more about the talks with UW-Whitewater, here.

 

***I saw some equestrian events this summer while I was trying to watch something worthwhile. I did not succeed. Why didn’t they make Handball or Badminton more accessible?

-Dave Adams

 

 

 

 

May
14

When Chicago proposed it’s bid for the Olympics to the IOC, they believed themselves to have done a fantastic job in finding a place for the enormously over-priced, 90,000 seat stadium (for 2 weeks before it turns into nothing more than a 2,500 seat ampitheater), they decided on Washington Park as a perfect destination to put this huge arena.  However, never did they consider the people who actually live in Washington Park.  The spot they have designated for this stadium, would be built on a large park on Chicago’s South Side, where games could be played there for 2 weeks and then KaBoom, it comes down to an eye sore.  What Chicago’s misfit committee failed to think of, or even consider, were the people that would be affected, not just for those 2 painful weeks, but for the 4 years the whole process will take.

The Chicago Reader wrote an article recently depicting what would happen to these residents.  They would be removed from this city.  The park would not just take up unnecessary room, but would put an end to a plethera of sports that take place in this park every year.  Little League baseball, 16″ softball, 12″ softball, basketball courts, tennis, just to name a few.  Plus, there is a meeting hall in this park where city officials gather to make important decisions regarding the town.  But, who cares right?  It’s the Olympics.  We should care.  These people will be displaced for 4 years all for 2 weeks of games, that frankly no one will remember 2 weeks after the games.  I mean can anyone honestly tell me any other medal winners from the 2008 Olympics other than basketball and Phelps?  So while Chicago pressess to lose money, I think we should stand up for Washington Park, and avoid destroying lives.

You can check out the rest of Chicago’s genius ideas here at their official website.

–Dave Adams

May
14

DePaul students give their opinions on Chicago hosting the Olympics in 2016.

Dave Adams

May
14

Watch an interview with Director of Media Relations John Holden, feat.Housing Department Communications Manager Meredith Lynch.

Read more about DePaul’s partnership with Chicago 2016 here.

Dave Adams

 

 

May
13

run
This summer 17 Chicago wards will have a new recreation option for children…Track and Field. Mayor Daley is of course behind this new summer safe activity for kids in Chicago, who stated it was to keep young adults out of trouble this summer. But isn’t it a little ironic he thought of this activity while we are in a major race to bring the Olympics to the City? Why yes it is, especially because the program is headed by the organization World Sport Chicago which has been working with the 2016 Summer Olympics bid team to promote sports among young people.

Regardless of why Daley started the program I think it is a good idea. Each track team will require voulnteer coaches to mentor between 60 to 100 children ages 8 to 14. Each team will cost $5,000 to up keep but don’t worry this money is coming from private funds and the World Sport Chicago organization. The city is hoping to get former Olympians to help coach the children especially since Chicago use to have one of the best track and field programs in the nation according to the Tribune.

It may seem a little far fetched that the youth of Chicago would rather be running track and field than getting into trouble, but I think anything to try and prevent more gang related deaths is a good idea. I do not know if this will really help Chicago in getting the Olympics but it is a step in the right direction to end the deaths of Chicago children.

-Dave Adams

May
13

madrid
Last Friday ended the IOC’s tours of the 4 bid Cities. The final globetrotting stop was Madrid. This bid city already has a whopping 77% of its Olympic Venues in place or under construction which includes their aquatic center and Olympic Stadium. Obviously, that puts this bid city ahead of the game when compared to the other 3 host cities. IOC commissioner called the venues and plans in Madrid “magnificent” which was a change from the “most impressed” that was given for the other 3 cities. It looks like Madrid is pulling ahead on the leader board.

The IOC plans on doing an assessment of the risks in each city if they were to hold the games, before the final decision in October. But Chicago has one last chance to impress the IOC board on June 17th & 18th at a briefing in Switzerland. Here the bid cities have the opportunity to impress all 107 IOC voters who have been invited. This is the first briefing meeting in the history of the Olympics and was put in place to fill the gaps that voters were not aware of in the bid cities.

Chicago has a lot of votes to lobby over the next five months, but can they convince the IOC that Chicago is the city for the 2016 games? I think Chicago has a lot of competition with Madrid’s venues and housing plans but Chicago is one of a kind and I am sure they will make that known to the committee!

Check out Madrid’s 2016 Website.

-Dave Adams