Rozner: Just imagine the Olympics in Chicago

Illinois doesn't get lucky very often.

Well, there was the time Carmelo Anthony didn't sign here, but mostly it's just bad.

Bridges crumbling, roads falling apart, mass transit in shambles and a government in tatters.

By most economic metrics, it's the worst state in the country - or at least in the bottom two or three - with taxes soaring and businesses catching the next flight out of town.

Broke and more broken by the day.

If you applied expected win percentage, Illinois would be the '62 Mets, who lost 120 games.

If it makes you feel better, the Pythagorean theorem had the Mets at only 110 losses. Guess Casey Stengel should have gotten more out of first baseman Marv Throneberry and his 16 home runs.

Said Stengel, "The Mets have shown me more ways to lose than I even knew existed."

He would have felt right at home in Illinois.

No, it's not good, but we can be thankful for one great moment: the day we didn't get the Olympics.

Yeah, things were bad in October 2009. Really bad, though not nearly as bad as they are now. And, yet, there were all our favorite politicians flying around the world in a desperate attempt to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

And wouldn't that have been wonderful.

If you think the Zika virus threatening to halt the Games in Rio is a big deal, imagine Olympic athletes running for their lives in a city now known more for its weekend murder totals than wind and pizza.

Among all the other problems - like mosquitoes and polluted waterways - Brazil has been plagued by cost overruns, corruption and theft.

With all due respect to what is certainly a nightmare for the locals in Rio, Chicago is the capitol of capital corruption, and overspending is the state mantra. Rio is amateur hour in comparison.

And considering how much it really costs to host the Olympics, compared to estimates and budgets, imagine what this would have done to Illinois, Cook County and Chicago, which has become expert on closing schools and businesses.

Chicago's bid was $4.8 billion, a laughable number and one taxpayers knew was a joke from the start. London cost $14 billion, Rio estimated $14 billion, Beijing spent $40 billion and Sochi was reported as $50 billion, though some believe the real total could have been twice that much.

What's left in the Games' wake is abandoned buildings and a huge bill. The rich and famous politicians - and their pol pals - make out like bandits with fat contracts and big construction projects.

And guess who gets to pay the tab when the cheering ends and the tourists are gone?

Yup, a terrible idea in 2009 looks even worse today, just two months away from what could be a disaster in Brazil, if it even takes place.

The Zika virus is no joke, and athletes who are worried about exposure aren't laughing.

The World Health Organization has already declared the Zika virus a "global public health emergency," and a group of scientists recently sent a letter to WHO calling for the Olympics to be relocated or rescheduled.

It's only two months away and Rio has already spent billions on stadiums and golf courses, in lieu of minor items like hospitals and housing.

It's a boondoggle from which some cities, states and countries need decades to extricate themselves, and it's only by sheer luck that Chicagoans did not find themselves suffocating in a black, Olympic hole.

Chicago is accustomed to failure - and suffering because of it - but losing out on the 2016 Olympics is one defeat we should celebrate forever.

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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