When London was chosen as the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games in Singapore four years ago, one man who emerged with a great deal of credit was Tony Blair. The then-Prime Minister travelled there to lobby for votes from IOC delegates and though he left before the winner was announced, the mere fact that he'd put in the effort on a week in which he hosted a G8 summit is one of the key reasons that the eyes of the sporting world will be on the English capital in three years time.
Today it's been confirmed that Barack Obama will follow Blair's lead and travel to this week's IOC conference in Copenhagen. Obama won't be the only world leader in Denmark - the leaders of Brazil, Japan and Spain will all be there to lend their support to Rio, Tokyo and Madrid. However, as the leader of the United States, Obama's attendance will contain a certain cache of influence not held by the others.
The truth is, Chicago probably deserves the Games. America has not hosted them since 1996. Indeed, the Americas have not hosted them since the Atlanta Olympiad while the world’s greatest sporting event has been to Australasia and Europe. It could be argued that a twenty-year break is short for some countries (London, for instance, hasn’t hosted an Olympics in 1948), this isn’t the case for the land which gives such a massive percentage of the TV rights pie.
Plus, Chicago is the site that makes sense. Rio is looking to host the Games only two years after the World Cup. Madrid has been shunned on a couple of occasions and they are looking for a second-successive European Olympics, and a third in four. Too much. Tokyo is an intriguing candidate, but not an attractive one to many of the major television networks worldwide. The Windy City is home to the Bears and the Cubs and the Bulls – it’s one of America’s premier sporting cities. Now, with the help of the President with the Midas touch, they should get to show that on the widest possible scale.