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Chicago invite Obama into bid team
Chicago hopes their bid for the 2016 Olympics canrecieve a Presidential boost.
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2009 13:31 GMT

Chicago's Olympic bid is hoping to cash in on Barack Obama's global popularity [GALLO/GETTY]
The committee trying to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago has invited President Barack Obama to be in Copenhagen for its final presentation but doesn't yet have a firm commitment.

Pat Ryan, chairman of the Chicago 2016 bid, said that Obama planned to attend the meeting in October barring an emergency.

Later, however, he said he wasn't positive about the president's schedule but was hoping Obama would be there.

The White House did not immediately have comment.

Heads of state have been present at meetings more frequently in the past few years.

When London overcame favourite Paris and other bids from New York and Madrid to land the 2012 Games, a strong, in-person push by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Singapore for the IOC vote was viewed as one of the reasons.

Obama's election has been widely regarded as a boon for the Chicago bid because of his Illinois background and his worldwide popularity.

Obama already has chipped in by providing a video message for the bid for earlier presentations to international delegates.

Charisma

U.S. Olympic Committee officials say they are in touch with the White House about the 2016 bid and hope he can make it to Copenhagen.

"Anyone who's met him senses he has the charisma and chemistry to work well with people,'' said Bob Ctvrtlik, the USOC vice chairman for international relations.
 
"If he can come and stay for an hour, we'll appreciate it. If he can stay a few days, we'll appreciate it even more.''

Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro will give presentations to IOC leaders on Thursday at this week's SportAccord in Denver, the biggest gathering of international sports officials in the United States since the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

Chicago has other issues on the table, most notably the squabble between the USOC and IOC on revenue sharing.

Some IOC members want to renegotiate the terms, which they say are overly favourable to the USOC.

Ctvrtlik said he plans meetings this week to discuss it.

There's a notion that the issue could negatively impact the Chicago bid if it isn't resolved in the IOC's favor.

"I don't think they're connected, but does that mean that certain individuals wouldn't connect them? I couldn't say that's the case,'' Ryan said.

He also played it straight on how recent upheaval at the USOC might affect the bid.

New boss

Stephanie Streeter is expected to arrive Tuesday for her first big Olympics meeting since she unexpectedly replaced Jim Scherr as CEO earlier this month.

Both Scherr and former chairman Peter Ueberroth have been replaced in the past six months.

Ueberroth's departure was expected while Scherr's came as a surprise and left an opening for those who criticise the USOC for not having stability at the top.

"The issue of Jim Scherr obviously was not discussed, and I think it surprised a lot of people,'' Ryan said.

But, he said, Scherr was in his job for six years and Ueberroth for four.

"I don't think people can consider that an organisation in turmoil,'' Ryan said.

Source:
Agencies
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