Chicago beat Los Angeles in a US Olympic Committee vote to pick a candidate for the 2016 Summer Games on Saturday.
Chicago, which has never held an Olympics, now will try to persuade the International Olympic Committee that it deserves to be the host, joining a group of bidders expected to include Madrid, Prague, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
"It was a very tough decision," USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said before opening a sealed envelope and revealing the winning city. "If I had all the power - and sometimes people accuse me of that - I would take the map and merge the two cities, because I'll tell you what: If you could take the mayors of these two communities and have them run our country, we would all be better off."
The IOC will award the 2016 Games in October 2009.