We’ve Been Wondering The Same Thing…

The Chicagoist asks:

Is Chicago Ready to Host the Olympics?

That’s the persistent question as the date for selecting the city that will host the 2016 Summer Games draws near. Bid backers in Chicago contend that the Games will bring jobs, an economic boost and international prestige to the city, all at little or no cost to taxpayers. Chicago 2016 has also claimed that support from the private sector coupled with world class management will ensure that Chicago will benefit from hosting the games. Within that debate, however, supporters haven’t pointed to a city that has benefited from hosting the games. Montreal didn’t finish paying off the billions of dollars of debt it had incurred in 1976 until 2006. More recently Greece teetered on the edge of failing to host the Olympics in 2004 when the government failed to complete construction on time. London is already billions of dollars over budget.

Looking ahead to next year, Vancouver, which will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics may shed light on what could lie ahead for Chicago. The Western Canadian city is looking to cover some financial shortfalls as the winter games draw near. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting that Vancouver is looking to cover a $12 million shortfall in advertising by inviting U.S. states to become Olympic sponsors. “Many of the states we’ve approached are very interested and it gives them limited rights to affiliate themselves as partners for the Games,” said Dave Guscott, the vice-president of partnerships for VANOC, the Vancouver Olympic committee. “Most are interested in ways they can advance their destination for tourism, for economic development and their interest in sport.” Aside from a shortfall in advertising revenue, VANOC has also asked local businesses to temporarily loan workers to the committee to cover a budget shortfall. While such a request isn’t novel, VANOC admits that their request for 1,500 short-term workers, to act as drug testers, snow shovelers and managers, is larger than previous plans. “While the final value and number of loaned employees will not be known for several months, the program will result in significant savings to VANOC’s operational budget,” the Vancouver Organizing Committee told the CBC. “While the final value and number of loaned employees will not be known for several months, the program will result in significant savings to VANOC’s operational budget,” the Vancouver Organizing Committee said.

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