VIPs converge on Copenhagen for Olympic bid
Spain’s king, Brazil’s president and US First Lady Michelle Obama were converging Wednesday on the Danish capital for a final push to get the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to award the 2016 Games to their cities.india Updated: Sep 30, 2009 23:39 IST
Spain’s king, Brazil’s president and US First Lady Michelle Obama were converging Wednesday on the Danish capital for a final push to get the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to award the 2016 Games to their cities.
In the last 48 hours before Friday’s IOC vote, lobbying efforts were shifting into top gear.
The contest between front-runners Chicago and Rio de Janeiro is thought to be very close, so personal appeals to IOC members from Mrs Obama and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could prove decisive.
The other two bidding cities, Madrid and Tokyo, are thought to be trailing but have not given up. King Juan Carlos was arriving on Wednesday in Copenhagen to bolster the Spanish capital’s bid. Japan’s new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, is also awaited, although the Tokyo bid committee isn't yet saying when he will arrive. Mrs Obama planned to get right to work on trying to sway the vote Chicago’s way.
IOC votes — by secret ballot over several rounds — can be highly unpredictable. Aside from the paramount questions of whether bidding cities' Olympic plans are technically and financially feasible, emotion, sentiment, geography, politics, self-interest and other factors also play a role.
Last-minute and high-powered lobbying can be important — as then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, proved when London was vying for the 2012 Olympics.
Chicago has torn a leaf from Blair’s playbook: Obama adviser met with him to solicit his advice and get tips on navigating the IOC voting process.