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No thank you, Olympic Games

OPINION

  • Mist rises behind the Olympic Rings on Wednesday in Sochi, Russia.
Mist rises behind the Olympic Rings on Wednesday in Sochi, Russia. (Julian Finney/Getty Images )
February 19, 2014|By Ernest Wilkins, @ernestwilkins | RedEye

The Sochi Olympics are in full swing, and while nothing has totally fallen apart, the fact that the focus has too frequently been more on breaking our athletes out of shoddily built bathrooms than going for the gold should be something we take to heart here in Chicago.

About this time five years ago, I was fairly happy thinking there was a chance Chicago would get the Olympics. Obviously we didn't, but I now can say that I had to be popping a Molly after 10 Irish car bombs to be thinking that way because Chicago would be hell on Earth if the Games came to town.

The city isn't prepared for an Olympics. Have you been to Atlanta, where they hosted the Summer Games in 1996? They basically constructed a city around the members of Goodie Mob and Chipper Jones' house in fewer than eight weeks. Now there are 100 streets named Peachtree. I doubt Chicago would fare better.

How do we think we could actually build and support an infrastructure for the world's greatest athletes? More specifically, what kind of city will we have after said athletes Tinder the hell out of each other, thus creating some sort of super-STD that can avoid detection and set a world record for the 1,500 speedskating progression while doing it?

It's not just the horny athletes—you've also got to figure out how to get people to all of this stuff. Here's the tricky part: Chicagoans are great at a lot of things, but leaving their respective neighborhoods in search of adventure ain't one of them. I'm sorry, but how do you expect me to get my pals to go take in the women's fencing down by the Olympic Village (brought to you by Groupon and Bob Rohrman Chevrolet) when I can't even get them to go to Pilsen for a drink?

Sweet Jesus, think about the local media frenzy that would open up if international news organizations descended on this burg. The first reporter from Al Jazeera to ask, "So, why exactly are there potholes every four feet in the roads?" would end up somewhere in Romeoville buried in a field.

Then you've got Sully from 117th calling in to every AM radio sports show talking about how the foreigners took his favorite barstool at Patty O'Furniture's and how none of those ski jumpers could work a day in the local 1203 repairing fridges all day while getting paid time and a half.

The Olympics are a glorious event—don't get me wrong—but I'm also not buying into the hype that the Games are for everyone. I can't afford tickets to the damn Monster Jam, and you're telling me I could snag a seat to catch some figure skating? Like the whole audience won't look like a cold version of Ravinia with less Boz Scaggs and more sequins? Sorry boo, I don't see it.

Chicago, I implore you, watch the final few days of the Olympic Games on the seemingly hundreds of channels NBC has scattered them across. Root for the country you choose, and invest in the events that you find fascinating. Just remember: It snows two inches and this town turns into Thunderdome. With our luck, that torch would be the second coming of the Great Chicago Fire.

Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman.

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