Chicago: economic crisis won’t affect Olympic bid

MEXICO CITY–Chicago organizers are confident the global economic crisis will have no negative effect on the city’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Members of the Chicago organizing committee will make their first formal presentation to IOC members on

MEXICO CITY–Chicago organizers are confident the global economic crisis will have no negative effect on the city’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

Members of the Chicago organizing committee will make their first formal presentation to IOC members on Saturday during the Pan American Sports Organization meeting in the Mexican resort town of Acapulco.

“We don’t feel that we’ll have constraints by the federal government saying ‘We can’t put any more money into this because of the financial crisis’,” Patrick Sandusky, Chicago’s bid spokesman, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “It’s not something we think would impact Chicago individually,” he added. “It’s more of a global phenomenon.”

Sandusky said the Chicago bid will not have the problems London faces in getting financing for the construction projects for the 2012 Summer Games.

London Olympic organizers said they intend to “bear down” on costs in the wake of the global financial crisis and do everything possible to avoid overruns on the $17 billion budget for the 2012 Olympics.

The financial turmoil is complicating London’s ability to secure private funding for key construction projects. Organizers may be forced to use reserves from the government’s contingency fund of $1.9 billion to help pay for the athletes’ village and a new broadcast and press center.

“We feel very confident that when we’re in the situation that London is, which is four years from now, that we would have a very solid plan that would be entirely privately financed,” Sandusky said.

He stressed that London is planning a “much bigger scale project” than Chicago.

“In terms of what we need to provide for the athletes, and what we need to host the games, and what we need to make it right for our city and our neighborhood, we feel confident that in the coming years we’ll be able to do that, and certainly can show the IOC that we have the necessary guarantees behind the village plan,” Sandusky said.

Sandusky said that 22 of the 27 venues proposed by Chicago already exist or will be temporary, reducing the cost of the project.

Although the Chicago committee has met with several IOC members in the past, the PASO convention will be it’s first official presentation. Delegations from the other candidate cities – Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo – will also make presentations.

“This is our first formal presentation,” Sandusky said. “It’s something we take quite seriously, and we think it’s a great opportunity.”  AP

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