Chicago 2016 Behind The Scenes In Beijing

The four cities bidding to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games have their representatives in Beijing where they are using the occasion to promote each city’s bid.

The Economic Times reports Chicago, which is competing against Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, is using the occasion to launch international promotion efforts and meet with International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes who will select the 2016 host city.

U.S. IOC member Bob Ctvrtlik, the USOC’s vice president for international relations said, “it’s like a trade show. You can’t help but run into members. Everywhere you turn there’s a potential voter. All 115 are just waiting and anxious to talk to you”.

The decision on a host city will be made by secret ballot October 2, 2009 at the IOC General Assembly in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Chicago 2016 bid leader Patrick Ryan said he believes the grand scale and historic nature of the Beijing Games is something which Chicago should not try to match. He said, “nobody should try to top this. This shouldn’t be an arms race”.

Since IOC members have been banned from visiting bid cities after the Salt Lake City scandal of 1999, it’s the best chance for the bid cities to have contact with the IOC members.

He said, “they’re here. They’re accessible. There’s a lot of interest in 2016 developing. I don’t think they’re ready yet to get into the detail of the bid but they want to know about the cities. They don’t give any sense of preference. They’re really happy to have four world-class cities.

“It’s starting. The attention is starting to turn. We’re having much more substantive and serious conversations than ever before. I have members coming up to me and wanting to know the inside scoop on our bid. Fortunately I’ve got a strong story to tell”.

Ryan added, “there’s a long way to go. The decisions are made at the last minute. The advice we’re getting from IOC members has been: ‘stay humble and work, work, work until the very end’. That’s what we will do. Anybody who says one city is ahead or behind is loopy. There is no way to tell at this point”.