Chicago was named the Best Sports City in the United States by The Sporting News in 1993, 2006, 2010. The city is home to two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams: the Chicago Cubs of the National League (NL), who play in Wrigley Field on the North Side, and the Chicago White Sox of the American League (AL), who play in U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side. Chicago is the only city that has had more than one MLB franchise every year since the AL began in 1901. The Chicago Bears, one of the last two remaining charter members of the National Football League (NFL), have won nine NFL Championships, including Super Bowl XX. The other remaining charter franchise, the Chicago Cardinals, also started out in the city, but are now known as the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears play their home games at Soldier Field just off the coast of Lake Michigan.
The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world. During the 1990s with Michael Jordan leading them, the Bulls took six NBA championships in eight seasons. The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL), who began play in 1926, have won four Stanley Cups. The Blackhawks are the 2010 Stanley Cup champions, and hosted the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. Both the Bulls and Blackhawks play at the United Center on the Near West Side. The Chicago Rush has been a member of the Arena Football League since 2001 and won ArenaBowl XX. The team plays in suburban Rosemont. Chicago was also home to the Chicago Bruisers, and original member of the AFL. The Chicago Fire are members of Major League Soccer and reside at Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview, after playing its first eight seasons at Soldier Field. The Fire have won one league title and four U.S. Open Cups since their founding in 1997.
The Chicago Marathon has been held each year since 1977 except for in 1987, when a half marathon was run in its place. The Chicago Marathon is one of five World Marathon Majors. In 1994, the United States hosted a successful FIFA World Cup with games played at Soldier Field on Chicago's downtown lakefront.
After a months long process that saw the elimination of several American and international cities, Chicago was selected on April 14, 2007, to represent the United States internationally in the bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Chicago had previously hosted the 1959 Pan American Games and the 2006 Gay Games. Chicago was selected to host the 1904 Olympics, but they were transferred to St. Louis to coincide with the World's Fair. On June 4, 2008, the International Olympic Committee narrowed the field further and selected Chicago as one of four candidate cities for the 2016 games. On October 2, 2009, Rio de Janeiro was selected instead of Chicago.
Starting just off Navy Pier is Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac, a 330-mile (530 km) offshore sailboat race held each July that is the longest annual freshwater sailing distance race in the world. 2010 marks the 102nd running of the "Mac".
At the collegiate level, the greater Chicago area and has four national athletic conferences represented, the Big East Conference with DePaul University, and the Big Ten Conference with Northwestern University in Evanston are premier national conferences. Loyola University Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago play Division Isports as members of the Horizon League.
Chicago literature found its roots in the city's tradition of lucid, direct journalism, lending to a strong tradition of social realism. Consequently, most notable Chicago fiction focuses on the city itself, with social criticism keeping exultation in check. Writers such as Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, Stuart Dybek, Carl Sandburg, James T. Farrell, Upton Sinclair, Saul Bellow, John Guzlowski and Finley Peter Dunne have all drawn the city's literary portrait in diverse ways, united by the fact that their observations brought the world's attention to focus on Chicago.