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Oct 02 2012

SIM Speaker Series: Deb Fiddelke

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Starting in 2008, the city of Chicago began its bid for the 2016 summer Olympics.  That same year Deb Fiddelke, a former member of the Bush White House staff, decided to change her career from politics the field of sports when she was hired for the International and Government Relations efforts for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.  Since the inception of the modern Olympics, only three U.S. cities have hosted the summer games and Chicago was the most obvious choice for a return to the United States.  Deb Fiddelke spoke to the SIM class last Thursday about the many factors that contribute to a successful bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the preparation required to create a strong technical and thematic presentation to the committee.

According to Deb, in order to create a successful bid first you need to have the right city to handle the massive amount of construction, infrastructure, and space needed to host the games.  She stated the team was prepared to build 90% of the venues within 15 minutes of each other and utilize the spectacular Lake Michigan as a backdrop.  The sheer size of the city of Chicago would also be able to handle the amount of infrastructure and space needed.  They even planned to convert an abandoned hospital into space to house the athletes.   Secondly she said you need the commitment of city leaders, the public and federal leaders.  The Mayor of Chicago at the time, Richard M. Daley, was fully integrated in the bidding process and was committed to the efforts from the beginning.  Deb stated that the Olympics were Mayor Daley’s “baby” and that he wanted this to be his legacy.  The public of Chicago was much harder to convince though.  Much of the public feared the use of public funds but the bid team assured that no tax payer money would be used and that the bidding process would be fully funded by private entities.  Many of the citizens of Chicago were also assured that the city would see an increase of jobs and an economic boost from the games.  As far as the support of federal leaders is concerned, in 2008 Barack Obama was elected president and as a Chicago native, President Obama and the first lady were involved in the bid process until the very end.  The bid committee also received letters of support from 5 federal cabinet secretaries twice, once when the process started under Bush and again after Obama was elected.

According to Deb, $50 million dollars was privately funded just to complete the bid process.  The team had the support from the city of Chicago, backing from the Federal government, and a plan to build temporary and reusable venues, so why was Chicago the first city eliminated from the Olympic vote?  Well according to Deb, the city of Chicago had no chance from the beginning.  “We thought it was Rio vs. Chicago in the finals, but in hindsight, Chicago was never going to get the Olympics”.  It was clear that the IOC wanted to give the Olympics to a continent that had never hosted the games before.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was the most likely choice, and it allowed the IOC to scratch South America off its list.  The 2016 Olympic bid was not unlike a political campaign with strong undertones of corruption, lobbying, and handshake deals.  An unresolved TV rights deal and disputes over revenue sharing between the IOC and the USOC were also negative factors for Chicago.

In the end, the entire process was daunting and exhausting according to Deb, but she would drop everything and join another Olympic bid team in a heartbeat.  It is clear that the Chicago 2016 team was fully prepared for another successful Olympic games in America, but what the team was not prepared for was the politics of the IOC, the predetermined minds of IOC members and the necessary lobbying of leaders of the International Sports Federations.  Deb Fiddelke believes that the U.S. could be in contention for the 2028 or 2032 summer games but it is hard to determine when the IOC seems to dismiss the merits of the bidding process. Besides, the IOC stated to the Chicago 2016 team after they were eliminated, “You had the best plan, it just wasn’t your turn”.

 

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Sep 12 2012

Notre Dame to the ACC – What Does it Mean?

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Click Here to listen to Episode 15 of “I Totally Agree”

“I Totally Agree” is a podcast recorded and produced by Georgetown Sports Industry Management students Gene Horlbeck and Chris Yortsos. The podcast touches on relevant topics in the sports industry as well as individual insights into the business of the industry.

In this episode, Chris and Gene breakdown today’s surprising news of Notre Dame joining the ACC.  Is this a good move for both parties?  What is the effect on the other major conferences?  Listen in for all the answers.

 

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Sep 07 2012

One Athlete’s Broken Hockey Stick: Another Man’s Chair?

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The NHL off-season is always a tough time for hockey fans (especially when there is a lockout threat). I decided to avoid my frustration about the potential lockout and instead use that energy for good. Take lemons and make lemonade. And that is what this blog post is all about. One Georgetown SIM student who has done just that!

Jonathan Merrill, a recent SIM graduate, started a business (Creative Collectibles) building furniture out of… wait for it…hockey sticks.

Although Jonathan is just getting started, he already sold a Capitals repurposed hockey-stick chair online for $800. Pretty cool, right?

Other creative collectibles include a coat rack made out of stick blades and picture frames/puck holders made from broken sticks.

When I asked Jonathan about how he got started creating household items out of hockey equipment, he cited his internship from his time in the Georgetown SIM program, “While interning with a NHL team and running their memorabilia game auctions, I noticed that players were always breaking sticks and they were being thrown away.”

Jonathan saw this ‘trash’ as the beginning of a innovative project. You know what they say, one man’s broken hockey stick is another man’s treasure.

According to Jonathan, “After doing some research online, I realized that some pretty cool stuff can be created from recycled sports equipment. I didn’t come up with idea for many of the things I have made, but when most people see Creative Collectibles for the first time they act like I invented the wheel.”

His company, “Creative Collectibles” has a new facebook page, twitter page, and he is available for orders if you email him at jm885@georgetown.edu.

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