Expectations, preparations, planning, hopes, overcoming challenges and obstacles, convincing... That was Chicago 2016 for the last two and a half years. All the hard work and preparations led up to the IOC's final vote just a few minutes ago here in Copenhagen.
Of the four bid cities, Chicago was eliminated first. There was a dead silence in the room. I have never heard such a silence before, not even when I was alone. Hundreds of highly powerful, determined, outspoken people froze. It felt like no one was breathing.
Chicago was up against tough competition, but still the results came as a real shock.
As I stood in the middle of the delegation of Chicago supporters, my mind suddenly returned to a "collegiate business plan competition" I participated in years ago, as a 19-year-old college student.
At that competition, I placed sixth. Out of six competitors.
It wasn't a great feeling to return to campus and face my professors, who had put such hopes in me and sponsored my trip. But at that moment I decided that losing a competition was not going to mean being unsuccessful in business.
I don't know what the other five students do today, those who placed higher than I did in that long-ago competition. But, one thing I know for sure is that the losses I have experienced in my life have only made me stronger and more determined, and haven't stopped me from discovering and defining my success.
I wish the same for Chicago. I truly and proudly believe that Chicago is the most dynamic, exciting and energetic city. That's why I live here. I hope that Chicago residents will always recognize the city's amazing qualities, as well as the growth we have experienced during the Olympic bid process. For non-residents, I hope that all of you will have an opportunity to discover Chicago for yourself.
Thank you for everyone's support and encouragement. It's been a fantastic experience to be a part of Chicago 2016.