Second City Absorbs Its Latest Defeat





CHICAGO — People who live here felt that the place had been on an exhilarating roll lately. First there was Barack Obama, Chicago’s Barack Obama, capturing the presidency right here in Grant Park, the city’s front yard. Next, or so everyone thought, Chicago was to be picked to host the 2016 Summer Games, more proof that everyone else had at last come to recognize this place as world class...

... Barry Bowlus, a lifelong Chicagoan, likened the Olympic defeat to the city’s fire of 1871, which, while enormously devastating at the time, also made way for the re-creation of Chicago. “We’ll rise from the ashes this time, too,” Mr. Bowlus said.

“I like our status as Second City,” he added. “It’s more humble. That’s where we should be.”

In fact, the city (the nation’s third most populous, behind New York and Los Angeles) had made failed bids for the Olympics before, even being awarded the Games in 1904 only for them to be held, ultimately, in St. Louis. (St. Louis, the host of a world’s fair that same year, apparently worried that two international events in the Midwest would dilute the fair’s draw and pressed Olympic organizers to move it.) Even then, said Peter Alter, a curator at the Chicago History Museum, “Chicago moved on from that without a problem, without really noticing.”...



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