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Chicago May Bid for 2016 Olympics

May 10, 2006

CHICAGO (AP) _ Mayor Richard Daley said Wednesday that an exploratory committee will study a possible Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Games after meeting with U.S. Olympic Committee officials.

``We are at a very very early stage in the process and we are a long long way from making any actual bid,″ Daley told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting, attended by some of Chicago’s business heavyweights, was intended to make sure the city knows just what it will take to host the international sporting spectacle before Chicago considers pursuing a possible bid.

Chicago is one of five cities USOC officials are visiting over the next two weeks as they decide whether to have an American city bid for the 2016 Games. The International Olympic Committee will pick the winning city in 2009.

Leading Chicago’s exploratory committee is Patrick Ryan, executive chairman of the Aon insurance brokerage, who said he appreciated the ``real candor″ of the meeting.

The business community would play a vital role in any potential bid by the city because the bidding process must be 100 percent privately financed so it won’t be a cost to the potential host city, said USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth.

In a signal that private money might not be hard to come by, Daley was joined at the meeting by not only Ryan, but also billionaire businesswoman Penny Pritzker.

Daley, while acknowledging the city has much work to do before deciding whether to bid, was unabashed in his support of Chicago.

``Chicago would be an ideal site,″ he said.

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