ATHENS Nov 5 Barack Obama's victory in the U.S.
presidential election has given Chicago, bidding to host the
2016 Olympics, the chance to shine on the international stage,
its bid leader said on Wednesday.
"I think the eyes of the world have been on Barack Obama and
therefore on Chicago and the eyes of the world will be on
Chicago more than in the past," Chicago 2016 bid chief Patrick
Ryan told Reuters.
Democrat candidate Obama, who has spent most of his
political life in Chicago, enjoyed a sweeping victory in the
U.S. presidential election on Tuesday.
Chicago is one of four candidates vying for the 2016 Summer
Olympics alongside Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will choose the
winner at its session in Copenhagen in October next year.
"Last night gave us a global opportunity to show the city's
beautiful skyline, its lake and parks," Ryan said of Obama's
speech in front of more than 200,000 cheering supporters in
Chicago's Grant Park.
Ryan said Obama's stature would help Chicago in its bid to
become the first U.S. city in 20 years to host the summer
Olympics since Atlanta in 1996.
"He has travelled around the world. He is a very highly
regarded international global figure. He loves sport and he is
very proud of Chicago," Ryan said. "I don't see any reason why
he would be negative at all."
Ryan would also want to see him attend next year's IOC
session and 2016 Games vote.
"We want him to be present," Ryan said. "But depending on
his schedule... if things are normal he will be there."
Heads of state have become an important part of the bidding
process for the Olympics in recent years.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended the 2005
IOC Session while still in office and is widely seen as the man
who won the 2012 Games for London.
Last year it was then Russian President Vladimir Putin who
made a flawless presentation -- in English -- in front of all
the IOC's members in Guatemala to win the 2014 Winter Olympics
for the Russian resort of Sochi, an outsider at the time.
The IOC has said it will not object to heads of state
wishing to support bid cities but has insisted on a low profile
presence so as not to take the spotlight off the vote itself.
(Editing by Miles Evans)