over before it even began

By strazz

October 2, 2009

Category: Sports


After dropping my mother-in-law off at the hospital, I headed one block west to Washington Park for a viewing party of the announcement of the host city for the 2016 Olympics.

The interesting thing about this viewing party was that it was going to happen during the middle of a circus. The plan was that at 11:50am, the clowns, acrobats and elephants were going to pause and the assembled masses were to watch Chicago being awarded the 2016 Summer Games.

The possibilities for great photos seemed endless.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, I never even made it into the circus.

Shortly before 10:30am, while the crowd was filing into the big top, I was with a Chicago Alderman and a small group of others waiting in an adjacent tent.

Hardly anyone was watching as the IOC President announced the results of the 1st round of voting. Shockingly, co-favorite Chicago received the least amount of votes amongst eventual winner Rio, Madrid and even Toyko, who people said had no chance of hosting the Games.

Everyone looked at each other and asked, “What just happened.” It took several seconds for the news to soak in that Chicago was eliminated and gone were the billions of dollars that were to be used to revitalize the city and the Washington Park area where the Opening Ceremonies and track and field events were to be held.

As the crowd emptied out, I spied Lee Tolbert sitting by herself amongst a group of empty tables adorned with American flag pins and red, white and blue confetti stars.

Moments later, Priscilla Alexander came over and consoled Tolbert. 

Not the photo I had expected.

Well, there’s always 2020.

©2009 Scott Strazzante/ Chicago Tribune


5 Responses to “over before it even began”

  1. Well…………..it most certainly told the story. Nice image!

  2. You could have name-dropped. I wouldn’t have minded.

    • Did I forget to mention that the highlight of the morning was hanging out with the incomparable Troy Heinzeroth?

  3. I ended up in this same boat today. I was very excited to cover Silver Cross Field in Joliet for its celebration at 11 a.m. Just as I was getting ready to leave the office, camera and ambition in hand, the vote came through…I never even got there.

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