The First Draft: Obama’s next diplomatic challenge: Olympics victory

September 28, 2009

If you think President Barack Obama has it tough negotiating with the G20 over the global economy and Iran over its nuclear program, take a look at his next international diplomatic challenge:

OBAMA/OLYMPICSGoing head-to-head with the International Olympic Committee over the venue for the 2016 Summer Games.

Obama thinks it ought to be held in his hometown of Chicago.

He’s so sold on the idea that he’s flying to Copenhagen Friday to put in a personal appearance at a meeting of the IOC — the first time a sitting U.S. president has done so.

Chicago is up against Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo as the site for the Olympics.

The Windy City has never hosted a Summer Olympics, nor has Madrid nor Rio.

Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964. It also won the bid for the 1940 games but was stripped of the right after the outbreak of its war with China. The 1940 games were ultimately canceled due to World War II.

The Obamas were already involved in the Olympics bid before the White House announced the president would travel to Copenhagen this Friday.

First lady Michelle Obama is part of the Chicago delegation attending the IOC meeting to present the case for the city to host the games.

Obama won’t be the only national leader in attendance.

Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama are also planning to go.

Obama’s week gets off to a slow start after his sessions at the United Nations and the Group of 20 Summit in Pittsburgh last week.

He has no public appearances on his schedule for Monday.

The Senate and the House of Representatives were not in session Monday.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama watches a girl on a balance beam at a White House event Sept. 16 promoting Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics)


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Picture this: “George Bush flies with all his attendants to Copenhagen to shill for his home town and long time political base to win Olympics for 2016.”

Think that would be billed as “a diplomatic challenge”? or as abuse of presidential power serving special/political/corporate interests? To say nothing of the expense to taxpayers being laid off and a carbon footprint difficult to even quantify honestly. Words such as deaf, insensitive, self-serving, graft ridden, etc. etc….perhaps?


Posted by Ardath Blauvelt | Report as abusive

The Olympic legacy of debt
The exact price of hosting the Summer Olympic Games — or any sports “mega-event,” including the FIFA World Cup — is under dispute. (The Winter Olympics, which bring in a quarter of the money and tourists, are actually classified by sociologists as just a “major” sports event.) Leading sports economist Allen Sanderson of the University of Chicago, however, is clear on one point: “Generally, these things lose money.”

The London 2012 Games, for example, were predicted to cost around $3.3 billion USD when the bid was submitted six years ago. That price tag has since quadrupled, and watchers agree that the cost will quintuple before Opening Day. 16-Olympic-shell-games/

Posted by Pete | Report as abusive

Would be nice to think the City of Chicago and not the American taxpayers are footing the bill for this boondoggle.

Posted by Mason | Report as abusive

Sadly, we will never know as Bush was too busy taking vacations instead of doing anything positive for the image of the United States.

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

The city chosen for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will reap tremendous benefits. The Prime Minister of Japan, The King of Spain and the President of Brazil all feel it important enough to make the trip to Denmark to speak out for their cities. Thank goodness we have a president who is intelligent enough and capable enough to be there with them to speak out in support of OUR COUNTRY!

Posted by Lou | Report as abusive

The question is can we afford it? it is safe for us having so many people coming to our Nation? just last week 4 plots were discover…
We are fighting in Afganistan and our President just talk 1 time in 70 days with the General in charge. They request more troops urgently .. but our men and woman must wait… mean while our President goes fast as a flash to bring the Olympics to his town.

To the President we must rush to pass legislation, the stimulus bill, health care bill, cap and trade bill he sounds like if we don’t something really wrong will come… But when a General request more troops to win a war we did not start.. he fly abroad to seek this… no rush for that…mmmm I was talking this morning with my neighbor.. she has two kids in the military she was very mad about the situation… and many are…

Posted by Maria | Report as abusive

Apparently only half of the people in chicago want the games,and this increases if it is not self financing.But they will suggest like the health care bill no money will be needed.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive