POSTED: October 5th 2009

How USOC let down Obama – and put US World Cup bid at risk

President Barack Obama greets Jacqueline Barrett, Head of IOC Bid City Relations, ready to get down to work / Image: IOC: Charles Dharapak
President Barack Obama greets Jacqueline Barrett, Head of IOC Bid City Relations, ready to get down to work / Image: IOC: Charles Dharapak

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: President Barack Obama has fallen under dire criticism in the media for the failed Chicago 2016 bid. Following his recent trip to Copenhagen to meet the IOC, the President has taken the brunt of the negative remarks in his effort to support his hometown.

Obama found himself in the last days prior to the meeting in a no-win situation as he would be criticized if he went for “abandoning” the health care reform that he is trying to put through in the United States. And criticized if he stayed away and didn't make the trip to support the bid.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had vowed to attend the meeting, Spain was checking in with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia teamed with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and Tokyo counted on the support of their newly elected Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama. Everyone else had stepped to the plate.

If the Obamas hadn’t decided last minute to attend and make a presentation the headlines would be screaming that Chicago lost the Olympics because Obama didn’t personally attend and support the bid.

One wonders now with all the back lash for the Olympics bid if Obama will support in first person the US World Cup bid for 2018 or 2022.

Reports in the news also are flinging remarks back at former President Bush and his foreign policy for helping to submarine the bid.

It is now not so much about who wins or loses but how you can lay the blame.

It was a tough call and as the deadline approached the White House threw their weight 100% behind with the personal visit to support their home city. It was unfortunate that better USOC intelligence didn’t pay more attention to concerns on the back burner that had been tabled by IOC members and tackle this hurdle earlier on in the campaign.

The Obamas took the challenge, whether they were fully informed of these concerns or not. Fact is they got on the frontline. People just get hugely passionate about the Olympics which is the whole pull for the event.

If he attends the Vancouver Olympics in just a few months, Obama will be seeing the IOC members all over again.

Keywords · IOC · Chicago 2016 · Barack Obama · Jacqueline Barrett · Summer Olympics

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