POSTED: Thursday September 3rd 2009

Mike Moran's Sports Corp Spotlight- On Chicago's 2016 Olympic Hopes

September 3, 2009, #30 Chicago's 2016 Olympic Hopes

A column by from Mike Moran with his own opinions and musings devoted to all things in Sports in our town and around the area, and the “buzz” for everything from the Olympic athlete to the Weekend Warrior.


Anxiety Is The Theme For The Next 30 Days
Chicago and Colorado Springs
as Chicago 2016 and the United States Olympic Committee count down the hours
and minutes until the October 2, breakfast-time announcement of the 2016 Olympic
Games host city from Copenhagen during the 121st Session of the
International Olympic Committee……prior to the final vote, Chicago will go first
with its one-hour, formal presentation to the IOC, followed by Tokyo, Rio and
Madrid……..the official announcement follows a two-and-one-half hour session to
vote, eliminating cities by rounds until the winner is named………this is big-time
drama, trust me…..and there is a huge amount of critical things on the line for
each city…….I sat through these white-knuckle moments that led to the selection
of Atlanta and Salt Lake City as hosts for the Games, and watched the massive
roar from thousands gathered in each downtown of the cities as the decision was
announced on a big-screen, and the ensuing, joyous celebrations.……….but the
one I will remember most vividly is the July 6, 2005,
announcement from
Singapore that London had upset Paris to win the 2012 Olympic Games, while
America’s candidate, New York City, went out in the second round……….I was in
my third year of employment with NYC2012,
the Olympic bid group in New York
as its Chief Communications Counselor…..while our leadership and Mayor Mike
Bloomberg were in Singapore for the vote, I had chosen to stay in Manhattan to
help produce our community activity and deal with the New York media………we had
created a sort of Olympic “stadium” at Rockefeller Center above the famous  ice rink, with bleachers, a giant big
screen, stage, and a artificial turf infield……..we had space for maybe 7,000
people in the venue, plus standing room in the plaza for another 3,000 or
so……..on the evening of July 5, we trotted out celebrities, Olympians, Broadway
performers and others to entertain a crowd that had gathered to watch the live
TV feed of each of the candidate cities’ presentations (Moscow, Madrid, London,
Paris and New York)……..that wrapped up about 1:30 a.m., and
I headed back to the Regency Hotel to get some sleep……..I recall the feeling I
had as I stood in the empty plaza that early morning, with the stars out, the
skyscrapers around me,
and the sense of anticipation for the next morning……I think I said to myself,
“This is as good as my job will ever get”………..the morning of July 6 dawned with
a light rain and stifling humidity and heat as the crowd gathered again at
Rockefeller Center to watch the live feed of the final IOC vote around
7:00……..there were 15-20 TV crews and 60 reporters on hand in the media
stand…….. Governor Pataki was in his car near the venue…..and then it got very
quiet……..the first announcement was that Moscow was eliminated in the first
round, which was expected……….within minutes, the image of IOC President Rogge
appeared again
with the terse announcement that “New York will not advance”
to the third round…….it was over, and the Governor’s car roared away to Albany,
the crowd left quickly and without much more than an initial groan, and then
came the news media…….I stood for the next hour on the turf, going from camera
crew to camera crew, from scrum to scrum
of reporters and photographers, all asking the obvious question…”What happened
and why?”………….As I had done scores of times while with the USOC over 25 years, I
spoke from the heart, no notes or script, and did my best to tell the story of
why it was not New York, and why issues like the contentious West Side stadium
fiasco, anti-American sentiment abroad, and other things had done in what was a
magnificent bid in the end……..and it was a wonderful bid and plan……all of New
York, its boroughs and its ethnic communities and rich tapestry of citizens had
come together for this effort……..we imagined a 2012 Opening Ceremony in the new
Olympic Stadium, with boats and ferries delivering the athletes to the pier by
the venue, and fireworks across the city, and all that goes with what this
amazing American city can offer……….and sports at iconic venues like the Armory
in Harlem, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and others………..I departed by
car to spend the rest of the day going from TV studio to radio studio, to
newspaper offices and live remotes, ending at midnight with a bizarre final live
piece from the ESPN Zone at Times Square……….I slept the sleep of the dead that
evening………bid chief Dan Doctoroff had sent a message from Singapore to us that
he would host a party on Monday evening for our staff and leaders at his home,
for the  young men and women,
fresh-faced, vibrant, ever hopeful and optimistic, now crushed and in tears,
many of them having given up good jobs to come on board with us to win the
Games…….for the volunteers from several nations, and for others who had given so
much over the time since the USOC picked New York over San Francisco in Colorado
Springs in November of 2002……..I was not up to that, and I had no idea then what
I would do next for a living, and I slipped out of the city the next afternoon and back to Colorado
Springs…….it was finally over for me……..on the flight home, I thought of the
incredible events we had staged in New York as part of our effort…….the
announcement that we  had made the
IOC’s final list of five early one morning at Bryant Park with Olympians and
Paralympians on stage surrounding the Mayor……..the announcement of the five
finalists for the Olympic athlete village design project at historic Vanderbilt
Hall at Grand Central Terminal…….the sendoff of our Official Bid Book from the
Brooklyn Bridge on a wintry afternoon with the structure jammed with thousands
of fans and that view of the city………and the view from the 36th floor
of our offices at One Liberty Plaza, that looked directly down at hallowed
Ground Zero of our 9/11 national tragedy where the Twin Towers had
stood……….Now, on October 2, it will be time for thousands in
to face that moment when the announcement comes, when dreams and
commitment are rewarded or dashed, when joy reigns or sadness crushes the city’s
spirit……….What are Chicago’s chances? Who can say?……the small band of astute American
journalists who cover the Olympic movement consistently writes today after the
IOC report, that Rio might now appear to have momentum
that is gaining steam…….there appears to be IOC angst over the complete
financial guarantee by the city against a shortfall, though the Mayor of Chicago
says he will produce that next week……a sobering Chicago Tribune/WGN poll out
this morning says that now, only 47 percent of Chicagoans favor the bid, down
from a reported 61 percent in February………South America has never hosted the
Olympic Games……….will President Obama go to Copenhagen to stump for his hometown
and work the magic that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair produced in Singapore over
48 hours in 2005 that led the London upset of favored Paris?…………one prominent
IOC member said this morning that “Normally, you would hope public sentiment
would be building as a candidate city approaches the final
competition”……….Chicago has the best of the four bids, I
… satisfies all the
IOC requirements other than the financial guarantee, and that may be solved
soon…….it has a passionate and savvy Mayor, a dignified and eloquent bid leader
in Pat Ryan, the support of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, a solid financial
plan…..and it should be America’s turn……..but you can never guess where the IOC
is concerned…..I sense that the minds of its Members are mostly already made up,
and that Chicago must get past the first round…… gut tells me it will be
Chicago and Rio in the last round………..a triumph by Chicago means countless
blessings for the USOC and its programs, and sports in our nation in
general…….the rewards are huge, but a loss would be a tremendous setback for the
USOC and America’s impact on international sport……… all comes to us in less
than a month, the perfect storm.

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Keywords · 2012 Olympics · New York · Chicago 2016 · USOC · Mike Moran

Name: Mike Moran
Organization: Colorado Springs Sports Corporation
Phone: 719-634-7333, ext. 1011

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