Chicago will not host the 2016 Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee today eliminated Chicago in the first round of voting for the host site.
The IOC voted today in Copenhagen, Denmark, after a lobbying effort by an American contingent that included President Barack and Michelle Obama and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
Many Milwaukee civic and business leaders had hoped Chicago would be selected, as some of the development and the infrastructure improvements would have spilled over into southeastern Wisconsin. BizTimes collected their reactions to today’s decision and posted them below. BizTimes readers are welcome to comment below.
"I hope Chicago gets another crack at the Olympics, and there remains plenty of good reasons to connect our growing economies."
Tim Sheehy, president, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
"It’s very disappointing and in a large sense, we share in Chicago’s loss. The Milwaukee region would have been able to showcase what we have to millions of Olympic visitors and billions on television around the globe. A great effort fell just short, and while Chicago 2016 did a terrific job getting their city – and ours – so close to winning the Games, this result more than anything illustrates the need to invest now for our future. If we make bold, decisive choices now – in infrastructure, transit, water, education and economic development – we’ll be better connected to Chicago and the rest of the world, have more economic success, and be ideally positioned for national and international opportunities of any scope. Perhaps another Olympic bid will come again in the future. We should continue to think big and aspire to greater things for our region. Either way, we need to continue investing in our region and charge forward so one day, we can bring home the gold."
Julia Taylor, president, Greater Milwaukee Committee
"We were surprised and disappointed by the decision. The Chicago 2016 Committee with significant support from our local community were certainly supportive of the Chicago games. We wish Rio De Janeiro the best in staging the games."
David Fantle, vice president, Visit Milwaukee
"The decision by the Olympic Committee is disappointing, Chicago did a great job of putting together a package that would have showcased America, particularly the Midwest, and been a very attractive and accommodating venue for this historic event."
Jim Villa, president & CEO, Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin
"While I wish the results were different certainly Chicago’s name has still risen to a new level as it becomes part of the celebrated great cities and regions of the world. Certainly the spotlight on Chicago and the greater region has become much brighter as it takes its place on the world stage."
Dean Amhaus, president, Spirit of Milwaukee
"It is disappointing to see the Olympic investment go elsewhere, but we must recognize that there are many economic opportunities all the time. Just because it doesn’t come wrapped up and packed with a bow doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared to grab our own opportunities. Strong local and regional transit linkages are just as important to us with or without the Olympics. We must be ready to play in the global arena, whatever the opportunity."
Kerry Thomas, executive director of Transit Now
"Today’s announcement is very disappointing. We have been eager and enthusiastic about the Milwaukee-Chicago Olympic partnership and the benefits the 2016 games would have brought to our City and region."
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
"Our community was genuinely excited about the prospect of playing a part in the 2016 Olympics had Chicago been selected. While this is disappointing news, it was heartening to see all of the elected officials and visitor bureaus combining efforts in the process."
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker
"Of course, I am disappointed that the games will not be held in Chicago. The total economic impact of these games would have been $22.5 billion, and we will miss out on a piece of that pie. Nevertheless, we will move on and continue our efforts to improve our transit links within Milwaukee County and to our neighbors in this region. By securing dedicated funding for our bus system, along with strengthened connections to Chicago via the proposed Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail line, we can position ourselves for other opportunities that may come in the future. I applaud everyone who worked hard for many years to advance Chicago’s Olympic bid into the final four."
Milwaukee County Executive Lee Holloway
“I am disappointed that Chicago was not selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games. We worked hard to put together a competitive bid for these games and I am certain our region would have provided a memorable venue for athletes and fans from around the world."
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle