I’ve been crying like a fool the last few days. Similar to the tears I wept when I stood in Grant Park and saw Barack Obama walk on to the stage.
I’m a sap for this city. A place that took me in 11 years ago, let me find my place, carve out a career, buy my home and meet my husband.
In my own way, I was able to give back as much as I could and continue to do so when time allows. This summer and through late fall, I had the opportunity to do some social media consulting work with the Chicago 2016 Bid Team. Up on the 20th Floor of the Aon Center, a group of volunteers, staff and consultants quietly worked through architecture plans, media questions, neighborhood group meetings, Transatlantic voyages and everything under the sun to do put together something that may sound simple: A Bid Book.
The Bid Book is what the four cities owe the International Olympic Committee, detailing every plan, cost, nook and cranny of their plan to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This week, Jesse Owens’ grandson, Stuart Owens Rankin, had the honor of delivering the book to Lausanne, Switzerland. Just stop and think about that for a second. Think about the history behind that simple exchange of a ‘book’. Jesse Owens – the man who changed the sports world. His grandson was hand delivering Chicago’s formal request to host the games in our backyard. If that doesn’t give you shivers, I don’t know what else does.
For a moment, put aside your potential ‘anti Olympics’ feelings. For a moment, step out of yourself and think about how hard people have been working to answer questions, solve problems, work with the city (Chicago 2016 is a non profit) and bring Chicago to the global stage. Now, fast forward to October 2, 2009, when all eyes will be watching Copenhagen, Denmark. This is the day when we find out who will host the games in 2016.
I don’t know about you, but I plan on being glued to my computer or television set – whatever I can muster.
In the meantime, Chicago is the FIRST stop of the IOC’s last city tours. They’ll be here in early April – perfectly timed around my birthday, of course.
Big kudos to the Chicago 2016 staff! Now, can someone hand me a Kleenex?