Obama's Absence Won't Hurt the Chicago's Olympic Bid

"I think it will have no negative effect whatsoever," Rogge said.

By Andrew Greiner
|  Monday, Sep 21, 2009  |  Updated 10:39 AM CDT
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Chicago 2016 Venue Plans

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Chicago's Olympic chances would be higher if President Barack Obama were present at Oct. 2 vote in Copenhagen, said an IOC member. But the IOC prez says it's not a big deal.

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Relax, Chicago.

The president won't mess up the Olympic bid.

Yesterday Obama put to rest any speculation that he would attend the October 2 vote in Copenhagen, and a smattering of tsk, tsks could be heard across the Windy City.

But today the International Olympic Committe president Jacques Rogge says the president's attendance is not required.

"[His attendance is] absolutely not a requirement of the IOC," Rogge said.

Obama called him to let him know that he was sending Michelle.

"He explained to me the current political situation in Washington did not allow him to participate in the bid in Copenhagen," Rogge said.  "With a sense of humor, he said he'd send the best part of the couple and that the first lady was the best stand-in for himself. He didn't speak of coming himself."

Rogge also said recent disputes with the U.S. Olympic Committee will have no negative impact on Chicago's bid for the 2016 games.

Rogge also reiterated his prediction that the Oct. 2 decision by the International Olympic Committee will come down to a handful of votes. Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo are the candidates.

Chicago has endured tensions between the USOC and the IOC over the American body's share of Olympic revenues and its plans to launch a U.S. Olympic television network.

But Rogge noted that the two sides reached a truce on the revenue issue in March and the USOC agreed last month to put its TV project on hold.

Rogge said in a conference call Thursday: "I think it will have no negative effect whatsoever."

For complete coverage of Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid click here.

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