Michelle, Oprah arrive in Copenhagen

September 30, 2009 8:26:11 PM PDT
Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey go for the gold in Copenhagen. They have just 36 hours to convince the International Olympic Committee that Chicago should host the 2016 games.

The IOC vote is on Friday morning. By then they will also have heard President Obama's pitch for the Games.

But as Wednesday was all about the first lady and Oprah.

The stars are out and so are the knives.

Rio's bid team filed an ethics complaint after a Madrid bid backer called Rio "the worst" choice for the IOC to make.

Chicago's team is staying positive though, and capturing a ton of attention.

"Barack and I look at this just like a campaign," said Michelle Obama.

First Lady Michelle Obama pumped up 300 of Chicago's supporters on Wednesday night. There wasn't an IOC member in the room but plenty are seeing the pictures of how Chicago is rolling out the red carpet to land the Olympics.

A Danish newspaper put Oprah on the cover with a headline calling her Chicago's First Lady.

"If we get this the party starts Friday?and the movement to build starts Friday. And the effort to get everyone engaged starts Friday," said Oprah Winfrey.

Both Oprah and Michelle Obama are meeting with IOC members, both sharing their personal stories of what Chicago means to them and could mean for the Olympics.

"Nobody makes the decision until they're sitting there so the next few days really provide us with an opportunity to hold some hands, to have some conversations, to share our visions," said Michelle Obama.

Rio's bid team is battling against renewed questions about crime and public safety. At a news conference with soccer star Pele? Rio's reps responded to a magazine story stating police kill an average of 3 people every day for resisting arrest in Rio. There were 5,000 murders there last year.

Rio's answer: Tourists aren't the target.

"New Year's Eve, two million on street, carnivale, one million on the street without any major incidents," said Leonardo Gryner, Rio 2016.

Pat Ryan and Chicago's bid team are singularly focused on selling their story to IOC members. Many of whom say they still haven't decided who to support. A lot is riding on each city's final presentation.

"What we want to hear now is why people particularly want the Games in Chicago, Rio or Madrid. It's a real, almost an emotional selling exercise now," said Craig Reedie, IOC member, England.

A top White House advisor tells ABC7 Mrs. Obama will try to personally meet with the 97 IOC members eligible to vote in the first round hoping even those who may support another city will consider switching allegiances to Chicago if their first choice is eliminated early.

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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