White Sox react to Olympic snub
I was at Midway Airport Friday morning, getting ready to board my flight for Detroit, when a woman standing in front of me, watching CNN on one of the overhanging televisions, made the following statement.
“Chicago didn’t get the Olympics,” she said, shaking her head.
To be honest, I thought the timing was a bit odd, especially since the final announcement wasn’t supposed to come until around lunch time and we were boarding at about 10:15 a.m. CT. Everyone in Chicago had thought the final call would be between the Windy City and Rio de Janeiro.
Much to my surprise, Chicago had been eliminated as a potential host for the 2016 Summer Games in the first vote, ahead of the three other finalist cities.
Those shockwaves reached as far as White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who put forth that sentiment during his pregame meeting with the media on Friday at Comerica Park.
“Chin up,” said Guillen with a smile about Chicago’s valiant bid that came up short. “I was shocked because I never thought Chicago would be eliminated in the first round. I think everyone in the states was shocked.
“Don’t give up. Keep fighting for the future and hopefully one of these days we have it. But I was shocked.”
Gordon Beckham was 10 years old when Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics. The White Sox rookie third baseman and Georgia native remembers attending events that included Michael Johnson winning gold in the 200 m and watching Carl Lewis win gold in the long jump at 35.
At such a young age, Beckham didn’t get the full impact of Olympic competition but said it was a fun experience. Even though he could still be with the White Sox nine years from now, his feelings were a bit mixed when asked about Chicago falling short to Rio.
“It would have been nice and interesting,” said Beckham of Chicago hosting the Olympics. “But it would have been a lot of… . That city would have been going nuts and it would have been really tough to concentrate on baseball when that was going on.
“I’m not too disappointed. It seems like everyone is sad and I’m sure the city put a lot of effort into the bid. It (stinks) they didn’t get it. But for me personally, I’m ok with it not being a complete circus.”
Although I’m obviously not in Chicago, I can only imagine the collective disappointment. Many of the local establishments in the downtown Chicago area where I live were opening early on Friday morning for the Olympic announcement and what they hoped would be the ensuing frenzied celebration.