National

Oct 2, 2009 1:23 PM by Associated Press

Olympics decision stuns Chicago crowd

Bewilderment and disappointment sum up the reaction in downtown Chicago to word that the Windy City won't be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The crowd in Daley Center gasped, then stood in stunned silence after the International Olympic Committee eliminated Chicago in the first round of voting. The rejection came so quickly that some weren't sure what had happened.

Many stood for a few minutes, staring at the TV screens that carried the news. Within seconds, people began filing out of the plaza. A 33-year-old salesman from Evergreen Park called it "one of the saddest things" he's ever seen.

In the end, personal appeals in Copenhagen from President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle -- a South Side native -- and others, including Oprah Winfrey, failed to persuade the Olympic committee.

Not all Chicagoans were enthusiastic about hosting the Olympics. Many had concerns about the hassles and the cost. A recent poll by the Chicago Tribune showed residents almost evenly split, with 47 percent in favor of the bid and 45 percent against.

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