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For more than two years, the city of the Chicago has led an unprecedented effort to bring the 2016 Summer Olympic games to the Midwest United States. That effort ended in defeat Friday when the International Olympic Committee voted in favor of Rio De Janeiro. The loss was a bitter end to an expensive campaign that had the support of President Barack Obama.
The day began with excitement at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, where the official 2016 Olympic Bid Watch Party took on the feel of a celebration, even before IOC voting began.
Before noon Chicago time, the celebration turned to stunned disbelief as Chicago's Olympic dream came to an abrupt end. "The city of Chicago, having obtained the least amount of votes, will not participate in the next round," the announcement said.
Chicago native Stephanie Pines says she was shocked when Chicago was eliminated in the first round. "I think the first round, we were really concerned because we don't have strong global alliances that the other countries or cities have, so I think that might be one of the reasons we got cut," he said.
Arthur Mingo was equally stunned, pinning his hopes on the 2016 games as a way for the United States to raise its profile in the international community. "But when you look at America, you know, we're trying to make a comeback and really show that we are part of a global community. This one of our ways of being a part of that. It's disheartening to see we lost the first round," he saide.
As the initial shock of the announcement of the loss wore off, the next question was, what next? Stephanie Pines was doubtful another future bid would have the same support from such notable figures as talk show host Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama. "With President Obama from Chicago, I thought this was our moment. I really did. I mean, sure, maybe we could do it again, but it's tough I mean the amount of money time and effort that goes into these things puts a huge strain on the city and the resources, so I hope we go for it again but I think it's hard," he said.
Mingo pointed out this would not be the first time the United States lost an Olympic bid and returned to win the support of IOC voters. "When you look at Salt Lake City, they didn't get it the first time. They redid their plan, they came back, and they were able to get their Olympics. I think if we go ahead, re-look at our plan, and we start making changes where we had issues, I think in 2020 we can take a more constructive way and go ahead then," he said.
London is the site of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro will be the first in South America. Voting for the site of the 2020 Olympic Games takes place in 2013.