We all know that President Obama would be tickled pink to have his home city of Chicago win the nod to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. He has made his engagement to that cause plain – but, clearly, there are many other important matters on his plate right now. That’s why, at a promotional event yesterday on the White House lawn for “Chicago 2016,” he nonetheless made it clear that he would not be showing up personally at the meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen next month that is supposed to decide whether the Windy City or one of its competitors (Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, or Madrid) gets that prize.
In a report from the Danish news agency Ritzau that appears in the leading daily Politiken (Copenhagen will manage without Obama) city spokespersons reacted calmly to the development. Said Morten Mølholm Hansen of the Danish Sporting Union (Idræts-Forbund) which will be the IOC’s host:
Of course we would have preferred to see Obama come to the city. But on the other hand I will say that the congress will attract such attention by itself that that is not decisive. So many big names will come to Copenhagen, and the the decision itself about who will become the host-city is so interesting for the entire world, that this will not disturb our concept.
This assessment is shared by communications consultant Henrik Byager, who points out that, after all, Barack Obama may not be coming but it seems that Michelle and Oprah Winfrey will – “the two most prominent women of all in the USA.” Besides, there is also that big United Nations climate change conference scheduled for Copenhagen for this December. Obviously it would not do to have the US president attend both, and if they had to choose one the Danes would prefer that he be at the latter, which actually has to do directly with Danish interests.
UPDATE: Ah, but it seems they’ll get Obama early anyway! Twice within three months, in fact, since he is certainly going to the December UN climate change conference as well. So much for “Obviously it would not do . . .”