Barack Obama to visit Copenhagen to boost Chicago's Olympic bid

Barack Obama

The Mayor of Chicago has called Mr Obama 'the quarterback of our bid'

President Barack Obama is due to make a flying dash to Copenhagen to boost Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

With his wife Michelle and TV chat show queen Oprah Winfrey already committed to attend, a White House spokesman said Mr Obama 'absolutely' may go to help the 'Windy City' clinch the games.

Obama told International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge earlier this month that he had to stay in the U.S. to campaign for his health care overhaul, which is proving a hard sell in the U.S. Congress.

But a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an advance team had been in Copenhagen for several days to prepare for a possible visit by Mr Obama.

Given Mr Obama's huge popularity in Europe his attendance in the Danish capital could be the clincher for his home town.

The US has not staged an Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta,Georgia.

The games were marred by a bomb attack when a pipe bomb exploded in the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta killing two people and injuring  more  than 100.

Mr Obama has been an enthusiastic supporter of bringing the summer Olympics  to  Chicago following the 2012 games in London.

His home is within walking distance of the proposed Olympic Stadium in Washington Park on the South Side.

Danish police inspect the Bella Center in Copenhagen where the upcoming Olympic meeting will take place

Danish police inspect the Bella Center in Copenhagen where the upcoming Olympic meeting, due to be attended by Mr Obama, will take place

And he has supported the bid from the outset, taping several promotional  videos, including one that greeted an IOC inspection team when they travelled to view potential sites.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has called Mr Obama 'the quarterback of our bid.'  

The IOC will make the final decision on October 2nd.

Mr Obama will be aware that in 2005 Tony Blair went to Singapore to lobby successfully for London’s bid to host the 2012 Games.

And in 2007 Russian President Vladimir Putin went to Guatemala, where he won the right to host the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

This year, the heads of state representing Chicago’s three rivals - Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo - are expected in Denmark for the vote.

Chicago, once viewed as the front runner,appears to have slipped in favouritism  according to Olympic experts.

The organisers of the Chicago bid are counting on the star pulling power of  the Obama's to clinch the deal.

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