Who will host in 2016?

By the time this issue hits newsstands, the International Olympic Committee(IOC) will have selected the host for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Four cities are in the running: Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; and Chicago. Rio is looking to become the first city from South America to host the event. Spain’s last Summer Games came in 1992; four years later the United Stated last held the event in Atlanta. Tokyo is the only city of the four that has held the competition in the past, back in 1964.
Honestly, I hope Chicago will be selected, but regardless who wins it should be a great event. I have to admit, I’ve never been to Chicago but would like to go. From what I have seen on television and read, Chicago is a great city to visit and has tremendous and knowledgeable sports fans. The determining factor might not be any athlete who will compete in seven years, but which world leaders will show up to the selection in Denmark.
The biggest question is, Will President Barack Obama show up?
I do not what to turn this into a political discussion about his policies. I will save that for Phil Valentine and Jason Johnson, who are better equipped to talk about the issues facing this country right now.
I’ve read several media sources with conflicting discussions of whether Obama will show up. Also, it seems that the members of the IOC are split on how much of a factor Obama’s presence will have on the final selection. President Obama sent a letter to the IOC on Sept. 10 in support of the Olympics coming to his hometown.
Since I’m a huge sports fan, I think it’s exciting when the President, regardless of party affiliation, shows up to the big sporting events and hosts the champions of several sports at the White House each year. Hey, they need a release from the world problems they have to try to solve every day. These presidents seem like they care when these events are taking place.
Leaders from the other cities in the running will be in Denmark when the 2016 bids are announced. And recent history has shown, when some of the world leaders show up, their country is selected for the games.
In 2005, then-Prime Minster of Great Britain, Tony Blair, attended the 2012 Summer Olympic selection and London was picked. Two years later, Russia President Vladimir Putin helped Sochi receive the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Another issue that might affect the selection is the amount of tax money, if any, that will be used to fund the construction of the buildings that will hold many of the events. Taxpayers in some cities that have hosted the Olympics in the past, like Montreal and Athens, are still paying for the cost of holding the events several years after they have taken place. This is especially true for stadiums and other event sites no longer in use. According to some reports, cities like London and Vancouver are already over budget, as they get ready to welcome the world in the next few years.
According to a poll taken last month by The Chicago Tribune, 47 percent support the bid, while 45 percent said no. Eighty-four percent, however, do not want taxpayer money used to help fund it.
Regardless of who is selected, I will be watching. The Olympics are still one of my favorite events to watch. The games can touch all emotions at any given time. There is something special about watching a gold medalist standing on top of the podium and hearing their national anthem.


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