The International Olympic Committee rejected the US bid to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago moments ago. The decision is a humiliating blow to President Barack Obama, who flew to Copenhagen to plead Chicago’s case to the committee.
Obama is the only sitting U.S. president to attend an IOC meeting. Many thought that this unprecedented attention from the president, who brought along first lady Michelle Obama, would give Chicago an edge in the competition to host the Olympics.
Instead, it resulted in disaster. Chicago was the first city rejected, receiving the lowest vote total of all four finalists. Tokyo was rejected a few minutes later, leaving only Rio de Janeiro and Madrid in the running.
Losing in the first round of voting has to raise questions about whether the White House bungled this affair. They must have believed that Chicago had a very good chance to win before deciding that the President would push the bid himself. Perhaps they over-estimated Obama’s influence internationally. Certainly, this is blow to Obama’s prestige.
The White House staked, and lost, some prestige on that one.
Thousands of people gathered in downtown Chicago were thrown for a loop. The vote in Copenhagen was being displayedon huge television screens in the Daley centre. As the news was announced, the crowd fell into a stunned silence.
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