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Friday, September 04, 2009

The Straight Dope on Chicago's Crazy Olympic Bid

Cecil Adams, nom-de-plume of a columnist for the Chicago Reader and "The World's Smartest Human", on Chicago's Olympic bid:

"... we face the prospect of hosting a giant world athletic competition involving billions of dollars of expenditure that nonetheless poses no financial risk. Perhaps 50 people in town can honestly claim to understand this. These individuals are operators. Chicago is their natural home."

It almost seems as if there is a local conspiracy to forget 1976 -- no, not the Bicentennial of American Independence, but the financial debacle of the Montreal Olympics.

"The Olympics were a financial disaster for Montreal, as the city faced debts for 30 years after the Games had finished. The Quebec provincial government took over construction when it became evident in 1975 that work had fallen far behind schedule; work was still under way just weeks before the opening date, and the tower was not built. Mayor Jean Drapeau had confidently predicted in 1970 that "the Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby", but the debt racked up to a billion dollars that the Quebec government mandated the city pay in full."

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