Chicago 2016 preps final pitch in Denmark

September 29, 2009 9:01:22 PM PDT
Members of the Chicago 2016 delegation got right to work when they arrived in Copenhagen on Tuesday.They have just three days to convince the International Olympic Committee Chicago should host the Olympics.

First lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey arrive on Wednesday. Both women will be meeting and mingling with IOC members, offering them assurances that Chicago and America will be a good partner to the Olympic movement.

David Robinson and Deukumbo Mutmbu offered some star power to Chicago's Olympic bid, hosting a basketball clinic for Copenhagen kids.

"I know a little bit something about Michael Jordan," said Salman Khan, Copenhagen resident. "We all thought he was going to be here. Instead these guys came. It's OK. We still like them."

"As a professional athlete we do this in our neighborhoods. It's kind of a custom, culture in the United States," said David Robinson, Olympic basketball player.

The NBA stars are among an armada of athletes backing up Mayor Daley's bid for the 2016 Games.

"To be able to have on home turf would have meant so much more to have thousands and thousands of your fans holding up your country's flag," said Nastia Liukin, Olympic gymnast.

Friday's host city vote by the International Olympic Committee is one election whose outcome Mayor Daley can't control.

"This is a tough election. These are very competitive cities and countries. They're just as passionate and enthusiastic about their city as we are," said Mayor Daley.

The Olympic equivalent of precinct captains were hard at work on Tuesday night, identifying potential votes - perhaps just as important, eyeing IOC members who may chose Chicago is their first choice city is eliminated early.

To undecided IOC members, Chicago's bid chairman is making a simple pitch.

"As you look at everything that you have seen and heard from each of the four cities, who'll be the best partner? Who'll be the most reliable partner?" said Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 chairman.

"They have to perform their best bid, that they have the best to show to the IOC. Members and then we're ready for the judge to show the score. Is it a 10 or a 9.95? We don't know what is going to happen," said Nadia Comaneci, Olympic gymnast.

Obama criticized for going to Copenhagen

Critics of President Obama's trip to Copenhagen say now is not the time for him to lobby for the Olympics.

The president leaves on Thursday.

"I've got so much to do here. I will sleep on the plane. I will land and speak," said Obama.

Those comments came as President Obama met with Nato's secretary general at the White House Tuesday.

Previously, the president said health care reform would keep him from Copenhagen.

On Tuesday, Republican National Committee chair, Michael Steele, questioned the president's priorities. The White House laughed off that notion.

ABC7 will provide complete coverage of the announcement. A timeline of coverage can be found here. Ben Bradley will report live from Copenhagen starting Tuesday.

On October 2, the host city winner announcement is expected at about 11:30 a.m.

All of events will also be streamed live on our Web site, abc7chicago.com.


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