(Copenhagen) President Obama traveled to Copenhagen and back in less than a day, making a pitch for his adopted hometown of Chicago to host the 2016 Olympic games, and it was all for naught.
Chicago, the city of broad shoulders, was knocked out of the voting in the first round, and an audible gasp went through the media center where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met Friday in the Danish capital.
The President had made a heartfelt pitch to the IOC, saying his adopted hometown had everything to offer to all nationalities, especially in sports.
"It's a place where our unity is on colorful display at so many festivals, parades, and especially sporting events, where perfect strangers become fast friends at the sight of the same jersey," Obama said. "It's a city that works - from its first World's Fair more than a century ago to the World Cup we hosted in the nineties, we know how to put on big events."
First Lady Michelle Obama, a Chicago native, also made an emotional appeal. She spoke about her father who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, but never lost his love of sports. "He taught me how to throw a ball and a mean right hook better than any boy in my neighborhood," she said. "But more importantly, my dad taught us the fundamental rules of the game, rules that continue to guide our lives today: to engage with honor, with dignity, and fair play. My dad was my hero."
In the end, neither of the Obama’s were able to swing the IOC in their direction. The auditorium was mostly silent during the Chicago presentation, the first of the day, although once the President made his way to the lectern members began applauding and whipped out their cell phones to snap photos of the U.S. President. However, as the day progressed and more presentations started, the IOC members seemed to show more emotion, especially with the two finalists, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.
Madrid is the home of long-time and former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who at 89, told the IOC if the games don't come to Madrid for 2016, he will probably never see them come to his home city. Brazilian President Lula di Silva reminded members, the games have never been hosted in South America and the time for that continent has arrived.
The President and Mrs. Obama were in the air on their way back to Washington when the announcement was made.