For more than 10,500 athletes, the quest for gold has already begun in Beijing. The ensuing weeks will be filled with blood, sweat and, likely, tears for them. You, on the other hand, will have a much easier time, as many local bars and restaurants offer deals that will have you high-jumping for joy.
Need more activity in your life? Learn how you can train like an Olympian right here in Chicago.
Start things off right at Ben Pao
Check out the opening ceremony at this Chinese restaurant in River North, where you can enjoy 88-cent Tsingtao beers and complimentary appetizers (pot stickers, egg rolls and dumplings), starting at 5:30 p.m. Take in a performance by Cirque Shanghai, as the acrobats display world-class flexibility. And if the appetizers don't cut it, there will be not one but two eating contests. Cash prizes will be awarded to those who can devour the most. The event concludes at 8:08 p.m., when the ceremony itself takes center stage.
Light the torch at Finley Mahony's
Come support Ireland (or your favorite country) here throughout the entire summer games. The opening ceremony will be on six plasma screens, with sound. Enjoy an Irish grilled reuben (regularly $10) with a Harp draft for $8.08. For the opening ceremony, bartenders will be serving $5 Irish car bombs, $4 drafts of Newcastle and $4 Bacardi cocktails. And every time Ireland wins a medal, guests will receive a complimentary chef's appetizer with the purchase of an entree (same day only, valid at lunch or dinner). Looks like St. Patrick's Day isn't the only time you'll be a strong supporter of the Emerald Isle.
Don't miss one second of the action at Stretch Run
This place has you covered for the entire Olympic Games—not only because of its plethora of TVs (more than 240) on two levels, but also because of the deals. Try firecracker wings ($7.95), an orange chicken stir-fry ($13.95) or a tasty dish of salt and pepper shrimp ($14.95). Wash down the grub with a Gold Medal Mai Tai for $8.50, and be sure to keep your eyes on the action. If you see the U.S. win a medal, tell your server and you'll be given a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for any item on the menu that's good for your next visit. Who doesn't love getting rewarded for watching TV?
Try eats from around the world at Ai Sushi Lounge
During the Summer Games, Ai features its wide-ranging sushi menu and diverse wine list. The global options include wakame seaweed salad ($5) from China, kampachi ($4.50) from Taiwan and Soft-Shell Crab Volcano signature maki ($14.50) with crabs from Thailand. Thirsty? Ai has sakes from Japan as well as wines from all the major regions, including France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, Austria and the United States. How's that for an Olympic-size feast?
Show off your athletic ability at Alumni Club
Every Tuesday night during the Olympics from 6-9 p.m., you can compete in simple but fun physical activities that test your balance, agility and skill. The games will include bags, basketball and speed pool, where the goal is to be the fastest to sink nine balls. There's also a variety of Nintendo WiiFit games like soccer and slalom skiing. The top four scorers from each night win sponsored prizes and will be invited back for the finals on August 26, when contestants compete for the top prize: a Giant mountain bike and a three-month membership to XSport Fitness. Silver and Bronze medal winners receive memberships to XSport Fitness and $50 gift certificates to Alumni Club. Cool off with a snow cone topped with Dekuyper liqueur.