Will the Obama effect win the 2016 Games for Chicago?
Michelle Obama arrived in Copenhagen on Wednesday to begin a significant lobbying effort for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, with her husband expected to join her on the day of Friday’s vote.
The presence of the U.S. president and first lady will give a massive boost to Chicago in its efforts to see off Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro in a secret ballot of International Olympic Committee members in the Danish capital on Friday.
The president will address the IOC members directly and will rub shoulders with them over coffee before breezing out again. The first lady will also address the session after a couple of days spent talking to voting members and trying to persuade them to choose her home town over the other bidders.
So will the Obama effect prove decisive? The latest odds suddenly put Chicago a clear favourite at 8-11 on, in a race that had been seen as too close to call. Certainly, the IOC members were impressed by Tony Blair, the then British prime minister, when he came to talk to them in Singapore four years ago, and he persuaded enough to choose London over favourites Paris.
Do you think the Obamas will swing it for Chicago? And which city do you think most deserves the Games?
Let us know in the comments.
Kevin Fylan, Copenhagen
PHOTO: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama gestures as she arrives at Hotel Marriott in Copenhagen, September 30, 2009. REUTERS/Scanpix/Nils Meilvang