Rio de Janeiro to Host Olympics 2016, Chicago Loses Despite Obama Pitch

Chris Rudge, CEO and secretary general of Canadian Olympic Committee, said the voting comes down to more than the presentation -- It's also about politics and personal relationships.

"This is a world that is driven by 115 very unique and special people who look at the world as the IOC members," he said. "And then there's world royalty. And then there's heads of state. And then there's major corporate leaders. And then there's the rest of you riff raff. And so they're accountable only to themselves."

"There are lot of quid pro-quo exchange favors there and these decisions can become very, very personal," he added. "The merit of the bid is important, but the world politics is important."

Rudge remarked that if he were American, he would find the final tally "insulting." But while the vote was "shocking" for U.S. IOC member Anita De Frantz, she disagreed.

"I think the best explanation is that a number of members wanted to go to a different part of the world," De Frantz said. "Everyone wanted to have their picture with both of them [the Obamas]. Everyone wanted to be near him so no, no, no: He won. Chicago didn't."

The Obamas Personal Pitch

The Obamas tried to convince the world to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago with energetic, personal and passionate speeches.

"I've come here today to urge you to choose Chicago for the same reasons I chose Chicago nearly 25 years ago -- the reasons I fell in love with the city I still call home," the president told members of the IOC.

Team Chicago highlighted such reasoning in a colorful multimedia presentation -- complete with celebrities, business executives, children and the slogan "Together We Can."

Dressed in Olympic gold, Michelle Obama made an intensely personal pitch, speaking passionately about the Paralympic Games and her father's battle with multiple sclerosis.

"When I think of what these Games can mean to people all over the world, I think about people like my dad," the first lady said, "people who face seemingly insurmountable challenges but never let go. They work a little harder but they never give up," Obama told voters.

After her speech, the first lady passed the baton to her husband, who talked about his own historic election and the United States' desire to inspire.

"At the beginning of this new century, the nation that has been shaped by people from around the world wants a chance to inspire it once more; to ignite the spirit of possibility at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic movement in a new generation; to offer a stage worthy of the extraordinary talent and dynamism offered by nations joined together -- to host Games that unite us in noble competition and shared celebration of our limitless potential as a people," the president said.

He promised that his hometown and country would fully live up to expectations if they are chosen.

"If we walk this path together, then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud," he ended.

The president met with the queen of Denmark and the prime minister before jetting back to Washington.

Before today's presentations, most of the campaigning in Copenhagen happened behind the scenes. Michelle Obama met one-on-one with the more than 100 members of the IOC.

The first lady, the president and Vice President Joe Biden had all been working the phones this week pushing Chicago's bid.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...