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article imageObama to Travel to Copenhagen to Support Chicago Olympic Bid

By Chris Dade     Sep 28, 2009 in Sports
It has been confirmed by the White House that U.S. President Obama will be present in the Danish capital Copenhagen later this week to support Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
On Friday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote on the host city for the 2016 Games, with the field now narrowed down to four cities - Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
According to USA Today Chicago's closest rival for the honor of hosting the games is Rio, which, if successful, would mean the Olympics being held in South America for the first time ever.
The BBC reports that the last three Olympics have been held in Asia, Europe, and Australasia. And while there is no official rotation system when it comes to the continents holding the games, it is thought that the bids by Madrid and Tokyo, the Japanese capital hosted the games in 1964, are somewhat undermined by that factor.
It is also noted that the IOC has recently questioned Rio's ability to provide the necessary level of security and safety for the games, although the city did host the Pan-American Games in 2007 and will be one of the venues for the 2014 football World Cup, which is being held in Brazil.
President Obama will be joined in Copenhagen by Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, King Juan Carlos of Spain and the new Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, as each of them lends their support to the bid from the city in their respective countries.
In recent years former British Prime Minister Tony Blair played a key role in securing the 2012 Olympics for London and Vladimir Putin, at the time Russian President, helped the resort city of Sochi, which is in Western Russia, with its successful bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Michelle Obama, who was born in Chicago and returned to the city after graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, will join her husband in Denmark. Administration officials, and fellow Illinoisans, Valerie Jarrett, Arne Duncan and Ray LaHood are due to travel to Copenhagen too.
TV host Oprah Winfrey, track star Michael Johnson, gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Nadia Comaneci, and former NBA players Dikembe Mutombo and David Robinson are also members of the Chicago delegation.
As reported by the BBC and USA Today President Obama initially believed that he would be unable to travel to Copenhagen because of the time he was devoting to the passage of health care reform, indeed he had contacted IOC President Jacques Rogge to warn that he was unlikely to attend the meeting.
But the announcement that he can now offer his support for Chicago in person has been welcomed by a number of people involved with the Olympics, both connected and unconnected to the "Windy City", the nickname often used when referring to Chicago.
Jacques Rogge has called the presence of the President, and the other dignitaries, at the IOC meeting "an honor". Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago 2016 chairman Pat Ryan have expressed their delight at the Obamas being able to join them in Copenhagen as well.
Whilst U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst released a statement saying:The Olympic and Paralympic Games bring the world together for the peaceful pursuit of excellence, and in the spirit of international outreach and solidarity. These principles are perfectly aligned with the vision of the Obama Administration and our country's ideals
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