We laughed, we cried, we were outraged – this was the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. It was billed as China’s coming-out party, and in terms of pure spectacle, the Games did not disappoint. Even cynics can’t deny the magnificence of the opening and closing ceremonies, gold medal totals and ability to make so many political dissidents miraculously “disappear.” Yet, eight record-setting gold medals, one CGI fireworks display and a crooked lip-sync later, the Beijing Olympics have come to an end and speculation over which city is best suited to host the 2016 Games is upon us.
With all due respect to Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, I find Chicago to be most qualified to invite the world to participate in the greatest sporting celebration on Earth. Not only does Chicago have an excitable sporting base with excellent fans and teams, it also features a diverse collection of people who are glad to call the Second City their home – a notable combination of passion and pride. Perhaps it’s animosity that my home metropolitan area has never hosted the Games or mere jealousy that “world-class” cities St. Louis, Antwerp and Atlanta have, but regardless of my bias, here are 16 reasons you should join in Chicago’s efforts to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad:
16. NU’s appeal could improve as the world focuses on Chicago.
15. 2008 uneven bars gold medalist He Kexin would finally be able to legally get into Underground.
14. Chicago is one of the youngest and fastest-growing large cities in the world.
13. The city’s rate of 15.6 homicides per 100,000 people actually looks acceptable next to Rio’s 37.7.
12. Money invested into the Games could revitalize the often-neglected areas of the city, potentially reducing crime.
11. It’s a great opportunity for NU students to once again witness Mayor Daley’s public speaking skills.
10. Expect major improvements to the L (it might actually run on time!).
9. Wealthy international athletes don’t realize Navy Pier is actually the world’s largest tourist trap.
8. Real estate prices will soar, and you’ll own property by then.
7. Dominican Republic fans will be able to spend their life savings on a beer at Wrigley Field during baseball’s triumphant return to the Games.
6. High post-NU salaries will allow soaring ticket prices to be an afterthought.
5. Welsh-Ryan Arena will finally be able to host a decent basketball game.
4. South Side gang members will stop dealing crack… but will start dealing HGH.
3. International appeal will show there’s more to the U.S. than New York and LA.
2. 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan is an NU alumnus – we could always use a new stadium.
1. The Olympics would be opened by the world’s most popular celebrity leader – President Sarah Palin.
…Let the Games begin.
Weinberg senior Adam Ganjani can be reached at [email protected]