Olympics fundraiser brings in millions of dollars
March 2, 2007 (WLS) -- To prove the City that Works can get it done financially, Chicago 2016 held an Olympic fundraiser Thursday at McCormick Place that raised millions of dollars.
The Who's Who in Chicago's business community turned out for the event Thursday. Tickets cost between $500 and $5,000.
"It's a chance to help the Olympics happen here," said Peter Bell, executive producer.
The Chicago 2016 Olympics committee has already raised the $25 million the U.S. Olympics Committee requires. But tonight sends another message -- Chicago's corporate leaders are behind the Olympic bid.
"It's part of a commitment we want from the city at large," said Mayor Daley.
More than 2,000 of the top business leaders were in attendance Thursday night, many paying $100,000 for a table, all of it going to the Chicago 2016 efforts to win the games. The business community has quickly and enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon. They plan to show a video of this event to the U.S. Committee members who visit next week as they decide on a city to host the game.
"It could be one of the significant events in Chicago's history. It would generate international goodwill and create businesses and jobs for residents and create a living legacy of cultural and athletic benefits," said Mayor Daley.
Thursday night's fundraiser took in over $9 million.
USOC tours Los Angeles
L.A. has a proven track record with the Olympics, which they have hosted twice before, according to the Los Angeles Olympics bid group. The meetings with the USOC are taking place in those ready-to-go locations like the Coliseum.
"Since we aren't doing construction we can spend our time focusing on the ideas and spiritual message of the Olympic games," said Barry Sanders, LA 2016 chairman.
Another spot -- UCLA, known as a party school, would become home to 16,000 to 18,000 athletes. One downfall -- in some suites, as many as six women share one bathroom. And, there could be a shortage of beds, which would put some athletes on rollaway cots. But, again, unlike Chicago's Olympic Village, it's already built.
"All these plazas kind of create a complete small village, small town community of 10,000 people that live here every day," said John Sandbrook, UCLA Executive Officer.
"It is an advantage for Los Angeles to have things built. There's a little less risk in their plan," said Bob Ctvrtlik, USOC vice president, said on Tuesday.
Another concern with LA-- the locations are spread out and with traffic congestion, it could take 2 ½ hours to reach some venues in Long Beach. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke about the concern.
"Those venues are more concentrated than they were in 1984. Those arguments are arguments that people make, but they don't hold water," said Mayor Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa said he believes Chicago's Mayor Daley is the best mayor in the U.S., but he said that doesn't mean it's the best city to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. As for complaints from his citizens about traffic, Mayor Villaraigosa believes his residents will flock to mass transit.
"Like Mayor Daley, I take complaints everyday. That comes with the job," said Mayor Villaraigosa.
Another issue -- security.
"This region of the country has been cited by Homeland Security as being probably the most prepared region in the country-- not only to respond if there was an act of terrorism but more importantly to prevent them," said Chief William Bratton, Los Angeles Police.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is taking a final look at the two cities competing for the honor of hosting the games in 2016. This week, committee members are in L.A.. Next week they head to Chicago.
The final decision on which city will be the U.S. representative to host the games will be made next month.
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