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Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and former Aon exective chairman Pat Ryan, who lead the bid committee for the 2016 Summer Olympics, have a tall hurdle to clear: convincing the International Olympic Committee evaluation team that Chicago’s unorthodox combination of limited city and state financial guarantees, plus an undefined insurance policy, is just as good as the unconditional government commitments offered by Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. IOC president Jacques Rogge said the organization would not insist on the blanket guarantee it has required in the past, but Chicago’s insurance plan is untested in Olympic circles–and more difficult to deliver in the current financial crisis. Although Daley contends that no U.S. city has ever lost money outright by hosting the games, there is the possibility of putting taxpayers on the hook for an undefined tab if Chicago lands the games.

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