Oprah had all the American medal-winning Olympians on her show today. I haven't watched it yet -- I rarely watch her show -- but TiVo is getting it for me tonight because I love the idea of having a rally to celebrate the Olympic team's accomplishments.
I mean, when a baseball team wins the World Series, a football team wins the Super Bowl or a hockey team wins the Stanley Cup, they usually come home to a big, rousing citywide rally to celebrate their success. But it's more complicated with the Olympics. The Olympians on the U.S. team are from all over the country, and there isn't one big accomplishment to celebrate, but several individual and team accomplishments. What one location could host such an event?
In this case, since Oprah films here, Chicago got to host the rally. And Chicago is also currently making a bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, with the decision being made by the International Olympic Committee next year. What better way to showcase Chicago as an Olympic contender and demonstrate the city's enthusiasm than having an Olympic rally in Millennium Park?
And with the enthusiastic turnout of so many athletes -- over 150 of them -- it sure demonstrates that the rally was a popular idea with the Olympians. Perhaps after every Olympics, whatever American city is making a bid for the Olympics that year should host a similar rally? I really like that idea.
I'll take off my cheerleader hat now.
But, before I sign off on this topic, I thought I'd go out on a tangent and offer up one bit of trivia that to me illustrates how Chicago's Olympic bid fits in with Chicago's self identity.
There are four stars on Chicago's flag. Any guesses what they represent?
They represent four influential things/events in Chicago's history:
* Fort Dearborn, which was the original fort that the settlement was built around in the early 1800s;
* the Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed most of the city's downtown in 1871;
* the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, which celebrated 400 years since Christopher Columbus's voyage of discovery;
* and the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933, which celebrated 100 years since the city's founding.
Did you notice that two of the defining events in the city's history and self identity were international exhibitions?
And what's the biggest international exhibition in the world right now? The Summer Olympics.