Imagine walking out the front door one summer day and strolling down the street to an Olympic event. If the 2016 Olympic games are awarded to Chicago, many Evanston residents may be able to do just that.
The modern pentathlon, both the men’s and the women’s events, would be held on the Northwestern campus, filling Evanston with spectators and media for two days in the summer of 2016. On Feb. 9 Evanston’s City Council, at the Chicago bid committee’s request, voted to grant the City Manager authority to enter into a formal Governmental Cooperation Agreement paving the way to bringing the Olympics to Evanston.
The Council’s vote followed a presentation by John Landis of the Chicago Bid Committee, assisted by former Evanstonian Gyata Kimmons, now the Bid Committee’s Director of Community Relations.
“What we’re looking for is an enthusiastic and energetic partner for this event,” said Mr. Landis. He added that the bid team has reserved or set aside 76,000 hotel rooms in the Chicago area, including the entire Hotel Orrington, should the bid succeed.
According to a memo from Douglas Gaynor, director of operations for the City, the modern pentathlon is composed of five different events: swimming, horseback riding, running, shooting (air pistols) and fencing.
These events would take place in the Norris Aquatic Center, the Welsh-Ryan Field House and Ryan Field on the Northwestern campus, the men’s event one day and the women’s another. According to Mr. Landis, the fact that all of the events will take place so close together is a real asset for Chicago’s bid, as most pentathlons require extensive travel between venues to complete the five events.
Mr. Landis also said that the pentathlon would be one of only four events to take place outside of the Chicago city limits. An International Olympic Committee delegation will be visiting Chicago, and the proposed venues, the first week of April. The announcement of the 2016 host city will be made on October 2, 2009.