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Chicago's Olympic loss is a gain for London 2012

October 25, 2009 | 12:42 pm

Chicago's loss in the race for the 2016 Summer Olympics has turned into a gain for the London 2012 organizing committee.

Doug Arnot That's because Doug Arnot is going to work as director of games operations of the London Summer Games.

Arnot was director of sport, venues and Games operations for Chicago 2016. His star did not fall when Chicago's burned out in the first round of the Oct. 2 voting that made Rio de Janeiro the 2016 Olympic host city.

During Chicago's final presentation, Arnot began and ended by speaking French (the only Chicago presenter to deliver a sentence in anything but English), therein recognizing and honoring the idea that French is one of the two official languages of the Olympic movement.  Such a gesture was, of course, too little, too late for a bid that foundered at least partly because of the United States Olympic Committee's inability to communicate, through either the words or actions of its leadership, a real desire to be part of the Olympic world as more than an occasional Games host.

Arnot went to Chicago 2016 after resigning as the chief executive of USA Rugby. (Coincidentally, rugby was voted onto the 2016 Olympic program a week after the host city selection.). He had been managing director of operations for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games and managing director of venues for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. He has worked on eight Olympics as a consultant or organizing committee staffer.

Arnot, an avid cyclist, is part of a group of Olympic nomads that go from Games to Games, bid to bid, passing on their knowledge. If Chicago had won, Arnot would have been in line for a top organizing committee position, perhaps even chief operating officer.  

It figured Arnot wouldn't be out of Olympic work for long.

-- Philip Hersh

Photo: Doug Arnot addresses the International Olympic Committee this month during Chicago's final presentation before the vote for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Credit: Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune