No Games Media Contacts

Tom Tresser – 312-804-3230 – tom@civiclab.us

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Bob Quellos – 773-592-9657 – rquellos@gmail.com

 

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Here’s the REAL Olympic Gold!

Olympic goldYou can’t make this stuff up! Rio 2016 head arrested for corruption. He had 16 gold bars worth almost $2 million!

Can you imagine the corruption, waste and debt that would’ve piled up by a Chicago Olympics??

Stop Erasing Anti-Olympic Activists From History!

Professor Allen Sanderson, an economist at the University of Chicago, and a frequent contributor to local publications, has become the latest commentator to erase successful anti-Olympic protest efforts from the public record.

Are Olympics reaching the finish line-mash up

In a July 13, 2017op-ed piece for the Chicago Tribune Prof. Sanderson opines that the Olympics may soon go the way of the Dodo. He is ruminating on the results of years of successful anti-Olympic protest but he doesn’t mention the main reason – groups like No Games Chicago fighting the bid with imagination, facts and courage (but no resources or help from scholars like him).

He says:

These quadrennial pageants seem to be attracting fewer suitors. Why? One reason is that the specter of terrorism has made them much more costly. Another is that two non-democratic strongholds, China in 2008 and Russia in 2014, raised the ante significantly — Russia spent more in Sochi in 2014 than had been spent on all previous Winter Games combined. In addition, economists began to put out the word that these three-week parties, with their post-Games white elephants surrounded by chain-linked fences and weeds, constituted very poor public investments.

Whaa? Costs? Corrupt hosting governments? Fearless economists who dare to tell the truth? I saw NONE of those factors during the year-long campaign to derail Chicago’s 2016 bid back in 2008-2009.

Then he says:

For 2024, the USOC chose Boston. I was part of a consulting team for the mayor of Boston and governor of Massachusetts to evaluate Boston’s proposal and make recommendations. Boston withdrew its bid in August 2015, shortly after receiving our report. The USOC begged L.A. to replace Boston. There were initially five international candidate cities, but Hamburg, Budapest and Rome dropped out, leaving only Paris and Los Angeles.

No mention of No Boston Olympics! Unbelievable.

No Boston OlmypicsNo Boston Olympics was made up of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters, including residents from every neighborhood in Boston and all corners of the Commonwealth. To learn more about who we were, read this piece by Boston.com Olympic writer Adam Vaccaro about our organization’s formation and ongoing workthis piece by Shirley Leung, or this piece about our post-Boston 2024 activities. No Boston Olympics Volunteer Co-Chairs: Chris Dempsey, Brookline, Kelley Gossett, Boston, Liam Kerr, Boston

By all accounts, this intrepid team of citizen activists got Boston to back out of its bid on July 27, 2015 when one-time bid-booster Mayor Martin Walsh announced that due to lack of public support he would not sign the required host city contract (what we in No Games called “the blank check”).  “I cannot commit to putting the taxpayers at risk,” the mayor declared. “If committing to signing a guarantee today is what’s required to move forward, then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” When you say that – you have just killed your city’s bid.

So I checked with one of our Boston allies to get the facts. Did our friend know of Prof. Sanderson and his report? Was it the nail in the coffin as the good professor seems to imply? [You can get the report here]

Here’s what I learned:

  • The report he cites was commissioned by the Governor, the Senate President, and the Speaker. NOT the Mayor.
  • The bid was pulled by the USOC, NOT the Governor, Senate President, and the Speaker.
  • The bid was pulled in late July. The report didn’t come out until August, AFTER the bid was pulled.

It’s fair to say the impending publication of what was sure to be a negative report helped precipitate the withdrawal, but it was one factor in a sea of many.

I was a co-leader of the No Games Chicago campaign in 2009. We tanked Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. There. I said it. It may be hard to believe that a group of volunteers with no budget, staff or office could out think and win against the 2016 bid which was backed by Mayor Daley, Governor Blagojevich, President Obama, Oprah and Chicago’s entire civic, media and academic eco-system. Who we were, what we did and why remains unreported to this day.

I write now to protest the continued erasure from history of citizen’s protest efforts that oppose these bloated, clout-driven mega-projects. Protest and opposition that is often done with no funds, no help and at great risk to people’s careers.

We at No Games Chicago have long reconciled to no love, no mention and no learning from our work. Even as the 2016 Games approached and receded into history and this newspaper, a s well as the Chicago Sun-Times, turned from Games boosters to officially saying “Whew, sure glad we did NOT get those city-killing Olympics!” with no mention of No Games.

NOlympicsLA screen No Games Chicago, No Boston Olympics and now – Nolympics Los Angeles are people-powered responses to terrible urban planning. We protested, are protesting plans that enrich the few at the expense of the many. We are part of the voice of opposition and we deserve to heard and heeded.

Tom Tresser
Civic educator
Lincoln Park

Read The Article That Started No Games

Bob's 2007 article
In the summer of 2007 Bob Quellos wrote this piece for CounterPunch. This was the first in-depth critique of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. He didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of what would become No Games Chicago.

“In May 2006, proud leaders of the City of Chicago stood in front of the TV cameras to announce their plans to bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Their plan was ambitious. The city would build an immense new stadium in Washington Park on the South Side, and a sports complex at the former Meigs Field Airport, located on the edge of Lake Michigan, just outside Chicago’s downtown Loop district. Plus, there would be an Olympic Village to house 17,000 athletes and officials–built in the developing near South Side, at a cost of $1.1 billion.

But the hype surrounding the Olympics bid couldn’t hide the glaring contractions–at the same time as the city promised to spend tens of billions of dollars, severe budget restraints have been imposed on the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District.

As much as anything, the campaign for the 2016 Games has cast a light on an ongoing housing crisis for the city’s working majority–symbolized by the city’s gutting of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the agency that runs the public housing system, and the stream of residents leaving Chicago as one of the most basic of necessities becomes harder and harder to afford.

But the Olympics bid has also brought to light the brewing anger with the politicians, corporate executives and wealthy investors who are causing the crisis–and it is opening the way for activists to tell the real story of Chicago’s “transformation” and organize for an alternative.”

Download the article->Pushing the Poor Out of House and Home-Quellos-7-18-07.

NOlympicsLA Says “No Thanks!”

NOlympicsLA-banner
The old pros at No Games Chicago have been helping the community
organizers at NOlympicsLA prepare for their launch. They are out of the gate strong and connected to a host of vital community organizations! We wish them good luck in taking on the city killer aka as the modern Olympic Games.

Yahoo Sports Says NO CITY Should Host the Olympics!

Yahoo Sports just came out with an article “Rio’s Example – Why No City Should Bid to Host the Olympics“! Holy crap. Watch this slide show and count your lucky stars that Chicago avoided that city-killer!

Rio’s example: Why no city should bid to host the Olympics

There were 27 world records set at the Rio Olympics last year – from swimming to weightlifting, archery to cycling. These were as thrilling as they were expected. “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” is the Olympic model after all – Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”

 

At Last, Some No Games Love!

Gold medalBen Joravsky, writing in the Chicago Reader on August 3, 2016 said this about opposing the 2016 bid:

Let’s face it, folks: When it came to Daley, everybody in Chicago was a rubber stamp.

Well, not everybody. At this point, I’d like to distribute some symbolic gold medals to the few intrepid souls who had the courage to tell the mayor the Olympics were a terrible idea—to tell the emperor he had no clothes.

Maybe by doing so I can encourage a few other brave dissenters to break from the ranks the next time another mayor proposes a really bad idea.

No Games Chicago: A coalition of activists, led by Tom Tresser and Bob Quellos, that questioned the city’s estimates and showed up at hearings to debate Daley’s boosters. The group even sent a delegation to Europe to petition the IOC to vote against Chicago’s bid.

I’m pretty sure no one in a position of power around here will ever credit the No Games crowd for turning the tide against the games—you wouldn’t want to encourage other citizens to think they could actually beat City Hall from time to time.

Allright now! That’s what we’re talkin’ about – a little love for No Games. Thanks, Ben, you were a lone voice in the media arena speaking out against the bid all those years ago.