A Post-Script to Chicago’s Unsuccessful 2016 Olympic Bid

Whether they supported the 2016 Olympic bid or not, Chicagoans are in a state of shock that the city failed to make it out of the 1st round today, let alone did not emerge with the site selection.

And now comes the Friday-afternoon quarterbacking. Among the questions already being raised: Is it possible that Chicago “overdid” the PR push that included President Obama’s reversal and decision to speak in Copenhagen?

The International Olympic Committee’s 100-odd members vote in private, so we may never know the rationale fully. But I reject any notion that the U.S., embodied by Chicago leadership, tried “too hard.”

That’s akin to saying a sprinter who finished 4th in the Olympics, just shy of the Bronze, tried too hard. If anything, it was a matter of poor execution.

Next time–if there is a next time for Chicago–they should make sure that the focus is on what’s in it for the international community more than how it would benefit Chicago.

As I stress to my PR clients, the key to successful media outreach is focusing on giving reporters, editors and producers what they need. Once you do that, then you will get what you want.

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