There was always a troubling sense -- during the long lead-up to the devastating International Olympic Committee vote last Friday -- that the Chicago 2016 Committee was trying to eke out a victory in the competition as cheaply as possible. Little money was spent on campaigns to win over Chicago's local populace to the idea of hosting the Olympics until it was too late to do much good, and even those last-ditch efforts seemed low-budget and unconvincing.
But as lacking in lavishness and compelling thematics as most of Chicago 2016's efforts were in selling Chicagoans and the IOC on Chicago as a host Olympic city, the 2016 Committee, sources say, did manage to open very wide their pockets for that last disappointing video that was a central part of last Friday's final pitch to the IOC. One source pegged the cost of the underwhelming, heavily-tweaked video at well in excess of a cool $1 million -- an astounding sum given how little the video helped further Chicago's bid.
The decision to feature in the video the youth of Chicago and their "together we can" mantra may have seemed a clever touch to some within the Chicago 2016 crowd. But the fact is the youth angle already had been overused in the Chicago pitch. Yes, young people are at the center of the Olympics, but that's no reason to focus on them to the point of obsession.
In any event, it's too late to do anything about the lackluster video or the money spent on it. But if there's ever to be another Olympic pitch from Chicago, we hope whoever is calling the shots next time will remember it's important to think big. The Olympics demand nothing less.