POSTED: February 4th 2009

2016 rivals discount Obama

Jaime Lissavetzky: confident in Madrid's qualities / lake images
Jaime Lissavetzky: confident in Madrid's qualities / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/LONDON: Bid leaders from two of the 2016 Olympic candidate cities have spoken out in defiance of speculation that newly-inaugurated US President Barack Obama will prove the trump card for Chicago.

The election of Obama, with both his worldwide popularity and his Chicago connections, appeared to paint a brighter gloss on the city’s prospects when the International Olympic Committee decides in Copenhagen in October.

But that is not how his appearance on the Games stage appears in Madrid and Tokyo – according to both Spain’s Sports Minister Jaime Lissavetsky and Tokyo 2016’s Senior Executive Officer Yosuke Fujiwara.

Lissavetzky said: “Obama is not Superman. I don’t think his becoming President makes Chicago favourite. Other factors are important – such as the fact that Madrid has 77pc of the venues completed. This is a great advantage along with the government’s investment.

“However, I would say that I would have been even happier if, when it came to the IOC vote, President Bush had still been in the White House even though that would have been very bad news for the world in general.”

Lissavetzky’s dismissal of the so-called ‘Obama Effect’ was echoed by Fujiwara.

He said: “Mr Obama was born in Hawaii and became the first African-American President of the United States and we respect that - but the bidding process to host the Olympic Games is a very different matter so I don’t see his election as President having any effect.”

All the four bid cities - Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo - are fine-tuning their bid submissions to meet the IOC deadline next Thursday February 12.

Keywords · 2016 · Olympic Games · Tokyo · Madrid · Lissavetzky · Fujiwara

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