POSTED: July 12th 2009

Obama Effect not the key in 2016 Olympics bid race, says Rogge

Jacques Rogge: good news for the IOC /
Jacques Rogge: good news for the IOC /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: Jacques Rogge has cautioned that too much significance should not necessarily be attached to the potential of the Obama Effect in the 2016 Olympics hosting race between Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

The president of the International Olympic Committee was answering a question about the value of high-level political involvement in the lobbying process.

This was prompted by memories of the crucial role played by the then British Prime Minster, Tony Blair, in the days and hours before London was granted host rights by the IOC in Singapore in 2005.

Rogge, in a BBC Radio Five interview, was asked about the power of the United States President to sway hearts and minds of IOC members on behalf of his home city of Chicago.

He countered: “What is most important is that the evaluation commission has told us that all four cities could stage perfect Games and this means that, whatever the result the IOC will be the winner.

"As far as President Obama is concerned of course the support of a head of government or head of state is important. We have seen that with Tony Blair in Singapore but one should not overstate that. What is paramount is the quality of the bid and everything presented to the IOC about the care of the athletes, logistics and so on, matter much more than one figure, albeit a very important man.”

President Obama’s presence in Copenhagen for the vote on October 2 has not been confirmed though Chicago’s bid team hope he will be present.

Chicago spokesmen have always refuted suggestions that the bid could be hindered by problems between the US Olympic Committee and the IOC over Olympic revenue share and, most recently, the USOC’s plans to launch an Olympic TV network.

Praise for London

Rogge praised the state of London’s preparations for 2012. He said: “Basically, London is on schedule and on budget so we are very pleased because this is not always the case at this stage before the Games. The London organising committee is doing a very good job.

"Organising the Summer Games is perhaps the biggest logistical effort in peacetime so it is not easy, there are thousands of little problems, but nothing of any magnitude to worry us.”

He praised the London organisers’ success in locking down major sponsors in a commercial effort to guarantee £500m income and anticipated Games which would be “a resounding success.”

Rogge dismissed as irrelevant a question about comparisons with Beijing in 2008, saying: “Beijing was a resounding success but I’m quite sure London will achieve the same with another identity. Beijing was the Games of most populous country in the world while London will be Games of the country which invented modern sport – very different but very appealing.”

Keywords · IOC · Rogge · Obama Effect · 2016 Olympic Games · Chicago · Madrid · Rio de Janeiro · Tokyo · International Olympic Committee · Tony Blair · London

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