Two voting members of the International Olympic Committee are suggesting that President Obama's appearance before the full IOC in October could tip the scales for Chicago in the race to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
"The three other cities all have fantastic bids," Irish IOC member Patrick Hickey told the Irish Times. "The Tokyo bid is superb, probably the best of all. Madrid has most of the Olympic infrastructure in place, a great transport system as well. Rio has a big advantage too, in that the Olympics have never gone to a South American City, and it's probably about time they did."
"But Barack Obama is going to show up in Copenhagen in October," Hickey noted. "He'll work the room for about 20 minutes, and that will probably be enough to swing it for Chicago."
Similar sentiments come from Richard Pound, of the Canadian Olympic Committee. "Without Obama in the White House, I would say there would be no chance whatsoever for the U.S. winning," Pound told the Web site Politico.com. "The United States is the only country in this race that has had an absolutely extraordinary transformational experience with the election of Obama, which weighs very heavily in its favor."
In addition to his duties in Ireland, Hickey has served as President of the European Olympic Committee, and on the IOC since 1995. Pound competed as a swimmer in the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome. He has served as an IOC member since 1978.