SBD/Issue 49/Olympics

2016 Games Bid Cities Present To European Olympic Committees

Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro Friday were slated to make presentations regarding their bids to host the 2016 Games to the general assembly of the European Olympic Committees, "which represents 50 countries and holds the balance of power in the Olympic world," according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. The cities are "out to impress the delegates with slick video presentations and promises that they offer financially secure bids that can weather the current global financial crisis." A video message from U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is "expected to be included in Chicago's 20-minute delivery." Since Obama's election on November 4, Chicago's rivals are "adjusting to the Obama factor." Rio de Janeiro is using Obama's "'Yes, we can' and time-for-change slogan as an example of why the Olympics should go to Brazil and South America for the first time." Madrid has portrayed itself as the "'safest choice for 2016' in light of the economic downturn." Madrid bid officials indicated that 77% of the venues are ready, the group is 90% "toward its funding goal, the project is entirely underwritten by the government, and city streets are 'safe ... day and night.'" In addition, Tokyo said that the Japanese government's $100B loan to the Int'l Monetary Fund "showed how the games would be financially secure" (AP, 11/20).

Obama Taped Video Message
For Chicago 2016 Presentation
YES WE CAN! The GLOBE & MAIL's James Christie notes while Obama has yet to take office, the USOC already can "sense that anti-U.S. sentiment that surrounded the American Olympic initiatives during the Bush years had dissipated." Obama in his taped message "talks of his commitment to bring the Games to Chicago and of his belief that the Olympics can help improve struggling neighbourhoods in the city." Japanese Olympic Committee member Tomiaki Fukuda said, "Obama is popular and good at speeches, so things could get tough for Japan" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/21). In Chicago, Philip Hersh writes Obama could visit Copenhagen, the site of the '09 IOC Session where the 2016 host will be selected, to "meet individually with IOC members and help present Chicago's final proposal." IOC members "likely would be impressed that the most powerful elected leader in the world took the time to try to sway their opinion." But on the other hand, Hersh notes IOC voters could "turn their anger toward the ongoing dispute over the USOC's share of global marketing rights and U.S. broadcast rights, leaving Chicago to pay for that frustration" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/21).

MEDICAL SUPPORT: Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle Thursday said that Chicago 2016 Chair Pat Ryan is "closing in on an agreement" with Medline Industries to move the planned $1.1B Olympic Village to the campus of Michael Reese Hospital. Preckwinkle said that an $85M "borrowing to finance the acquisition could be approved by the City Council next month" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/21).

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