By Kelly McMahon
Minnie Hubbard came to Daley Plaza on Friday expecting to celebrate.
Instead, she was left wondering what happened to Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid.
“I lost my thoughts,” Hubbard said of Chicago’s first-round elimination. “[I was]
sure it was a guaranteed win.”
A retired Chicagoan, Hubbard said she thought hosting the Olympics would have helped Chicago tremendously.
“It would have been real great, better housing, better schools, better jobs,” she said.
Hubbard was among many Chicagoans left wondering why their city fell flat on the international stage as the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro over Madrid in the finals. Tokyo was eliminated in the second round.
When asked if the IOC made the right decision in turning down Chicago as the host city, Chicagoan Don Sampsen responded, “no.”
Sampsen explained how beneficial hosting the Olympics would be to Chicago, with the new construction, jobs that would be created, as well as the publicity.
When asked if the increase in violence in a city already known for its high crime
rate, Sampsen said he didn’t think it mattered.
Al Samson, an unemployed Chicagoan, explained that Rio’s crime rate was worse than Chicago’s.
“Rio is home to the most beautiful victims of carjacking, assaults and other crime,” he said.
People attending a rally at Daley Plaza got the news via large video boards of Chicago’s first-round loss in the 2016 Olympic voting. (Video by Poppy Peterson)
Shelby Routhman, a Columbia College freshman from San Diego, said she doesn’t believe crime played that large of a role in the IOC’s decision.
“Everyone was so upset [when the IOC announced Chicago’s loss], yet no fights or
anything broke out, everyone was so nice,” she said, adding that it was due to the
fact that North America has already hosted the Olympics and South America hasn’t.
Samson insisted the reasoning behind Chicago being knocked out first was because of a “conspiracy” of the Spanish speaking countries of Brazil and Spain.
“The Spanish-speaking countries tried to knock us out early,” he said. “We didn’t
have a chance.”
Samson added that Chicago hosting the Games would have been beneficial mainly because of the “international prestige” of having a global event. Samson was puzzled by the IOC’s decision.
“I really can’t accept this, we have some of the best athletes in the world, most of
the facilities are built already, and we have the most popular leader in the world,
[Barack] Obama,” he said.
When asked if he thought President Obama could have done more he said. “He did his share, you can’t win all the time.”
Sampsen said he believed that Rio won the bid because South America has never hosted an Olympics.
“It was their time,” he said.