The Fourth City

So Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Olympics today.

And those of us in this region who for years lived and breathed -- and hoped for -- Chicago's bid are speechless.

We had been counting down to this day for weeks. And the anticipation during the last few days was overpowering ... We watched as tons of big name athletes came out. Oprah and Michelle came out. And when the President announced he was flying to Copenhagen to pull for the games in his hometown Chicago, we were as hopeful as ever.

Sure, we'd heard the questions about whether Chicago could finance the games. And the public support wasn't as high in Chicago as it was in other candidate cities. But we didn't care ...

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! we thought. Who wouldn't want to have and experience the Olympics in their backyard!? If it happened, Kates and I were ready to start booking our plans tomorrow.

We had imagined what it might be like taking an 8-year-old Phoebe, and maybe another child by then, to the games and taking in the Olympic atmosphere. Seeing the sights and venues and interacting with people from all over the world. Maybe catching an event or two.

This morning, the atmosphere in our office was unlike any other Friday ... We were eagerly making plans for one of those big stories that only comes along once in awhile. The local reaction, the coloful design and all that comes with it. Right up to the time that the IOC's vote began, we were making phone calls, securing quotes and perspective from leaders on how the games in Chicago would impact our community.

We were swept up in the moment. Observers were calling Mayor Daley's push for the games this morning the speech of his life. As buzz kept building we were more optimistic Chicago would be the host.

And then Chicago was out. It was done. All over. ... Chicago hadn't secured enough votes to make it out of the first round. It happened too fast to comprehend any of it.

The collective gasp in Chicago blew up to our office. We gathered around the TV, mouths agape in silence. All we were left to wonder then was What went wrong?!

In an instant, all the air and whimsy was knocked out of the room, and it was like any other day again.

UPDATE: The morning after ...
a Too Much Burden for City of Broad Shoulders ... An interesting perspective on the role TV dollars might have played in the decision.
a Chicago loss means hard times ahead for USOC
a Daley not second-guessing Olympics bid as he returns to Chicago

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