Asian American Rally for Chicago2016 Olympic Bid

April 02, 2009, 6 p.m. (ET)

Asian American Rally for Chicago2016 Olympic Bid
Reported by Victor Hirano

At Lane Tech HS, Chicago on March 21st, 6:00-9:00PM

Chicago Asian communities sponsored this event, aiming to raise the community awareness and to support the bid for Chicago 2016 Olympics. The event chair was Yin Kean whose daughter, Celine Thum, was one of the Midwest top badminton players, having played at the national level.

BadmintonChicago was the only sports organization that participated, thanks to our connection to Yin. Howard Bach, USA Badminton Olympian, and Hiroaki Ebihara, Yonex USA president, came from California at our and USA Badminton's request. We also received the letters of support from USA Badminton and from Dr. Kang, the President of Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The weather was perfect. It was a free event but the invitees needed tickets to enter the building. Many media passes were distributed and the cameramen were everywhere. BadmintonChicago had its own table to talk about Badminton in Chicago. The event volunteers were not familiar with the BadmintonChicago, thinking about the country name from the Asian map. I hope that every invitee got the right seat.

The introduction of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was grand in Chicago politics fashion. After his arrival, all the entrance doors were locked for security reasons.

The Mayor lauded the ethnic integrity and support for Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. The Mayor, ethnic group leaders and we on the stage for the presentation of the large banner with the signatures from all the ethnic leaders. Alex Mathew, John Burnett, Harvey Look, Karishma Kollipara, and I represented the Badminton Chicago community on the stage. Larry Doplito has signed the banners as our badminton community representative. Mayor Daley's speech was inspiring and enthusiastic Channel 41 on Sunday.

We enjoyed Jesse White's tumblers, Korean culture troupe drums, Taiwanese traditional big drums and Indian "Jazz/Kathak" modern dances - there were over 20 different cultural presentations.

Alex and his wife, Ellen, made several efforts, such as our group's waving the fancy rackets, to get media attention. We will see if we made any mark on the media. We also handed out free rackets and shuttles (courtesy of Yonex) to the Nepalese dance members.

We also got permission from the Chicago 2016 organization to use their badminton logo on a T-shir. This logo can be seen on the I-90 expressway leading into the city and also at the Michigan and Congress intersection. We ordered 100 T-shirts. We sold them to the BadmintonChicago members at no profit price at the Rally. See the design here: You can purchase the T-shirts at Elk Grove Village Open (EGV) tournament on March 28 and 29 as well.

Badminton Chicago will donate the six T-shirts with Howard Bach's signature to the EGV tournament as a raffle prize. The tournament participants (free entry) and spectator (small ticket price) can have a chance to win these special T-shirts.

Thanks to Yin Kean, Chicago 2016 and all the attendees at the Rally. We will know the decision for Chicago 2016 this October. It has been exciting to be part of the Olympic movement and initiatives.