Passing the 2016 Olympic Torch: Chicago

The host city of the 2016 Olympic Games will be announced on Friday, Oct. 2. In an effort to prepare you for the big day in Copenhagen, we'll take a look at each city this week, leading up to Friday's announcement. ↵

↵If the Associated Press is to be believed, then we're down to two contenders, not the full four we'll be discussing this week on TSB. A report makes it seem as though it's down to Chicago and Rio de Janeiro for the honor of hosting the 2016 games. Bookmakers (at least of late) have agreed, and even gone as far as to say Chicago is the favorite. What makes the Windy City such a strong contender? ↵

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↵BIGGEST ENDORSERS: Chicago goes hard on this front. If there was a better time in history for Chicago to bid for the Olympics, it escapes me. Oprah could be our nation's biggest celebrity. (She'll actually be going to Copenhagen.) Michael Jordan is the most famous athlete we can trot out to the world as an endorser. Oh yeah, this guy, the President? He's got some Chi-town ties, too. He'll be heading to Copenhagen this week. (The video below is from back in late 2008.) ↵

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↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
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↵OBSCURE ENDORSERS:
NFL kicker Morten Andersen and NBA center Dikembe Mutombo.
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↵GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO SPORTS:
Michael Jordan wasn't born in Chicago, mind you, but there hasn't been anything more significant in sports to come out of the city. Jordan is a two-time Gold medalist for the U.S., taking it home in both 1984 and then 1992 with the Dream Team. If you don't want to go with a person, then what about a venue? Wrigley Field is as iconic as it gets and it's an absolute shame there won't be Olympic baseball to be played there in 2016.
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↵FOOD THEY'LL WRITE HOME ABOUT: Just as bored American sports columnists ate disgusting things in Beijing (see: Plaschke, Bill), visitors always seem to want to do that "when in Rome, eat like the Romans do" story. What will they eat in Chicago? Deep dish pizza seems like the obvious choice here. ↵

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↵UNVERIFIED FACT LEARNED FROM WIKIPEDIA THAT WILL IN NO WAY HELP THE CITY'S HOPES FOR A BID: "The name "Chicago" is a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, meaning "wild onion," from the Miami-Illinois language." ↵

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↵MURDER RATE: 510 in 2008, but 2009 is off to a better start at just 282 as of late last week. ↵

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↵POTENTIAL LOGO: ↵

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↵For some reason, I can't shake the fact that it looks a little bit like a Winter Olympics logo. I know they're trying to incorporate all the colors of the rings. Regardless, I like the more modern look. It will look excellent on sneakers and other licensed gear. (You listening, adidas? I'm thinking ahead seven years to some sick Derrick Rose Olympic player edition kicks. He has to look fresh when he takes the gold in his home city.) ↵

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↵THE DOWNSIDE: Like any city close to landing the Olympic games, some people are kind of freaked out about the cost. The structures built for the Olympics -- no matter how big -- can go unused for long stretches of time. CNBC's Darren Rovell noted that Beijing's Bird's Nest went a year without any type of sporting event following the 2008 Olympics. ↵

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↵BOTTOM LINE: By all accounts, Chicago seems to be the favorite. I imagine the only people who could screw it up at this point would be Jay Cutler, anyone from the Cubs, or maybe Kanye West jumping the stage in Copenhagen pulling a "I'mma let you finish!" on the IOC. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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