Michelle Obama backs Chicago’s Olympic bid
But is the First Lady being sent on a mission impossible?
America's First Lady, Michelle Obama, is to fly to Copenhagen next month to support Chicago in its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. Her husband, Barack Obama, is unlikely to attend, however - ostensibly because he is too busy pushing through his health care reform bill.
But some observers suspect the US President is not going because his advisors don't feel Chicago has much hope of winning the rights to the Games against strong opposition from Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. Why would he want to be associated with a failed bid?
The official line, of course, is that the Obamas are right behind the city where they were both living and working before they went to Washington in January. Mayor Richard Daley said he was thrilled that the First Lady had agreed to take on the cheerleading assignment.
There is talk that the White House could announce a last-minute flying visit to Copenhagen by the president himself - but cynics say that would depend on his getting the nod that Chicago was definitely going to win.
There are several factors weighing against that happening: the last US-based Games, in Atlanta in 1996, were not considered a great success, while the winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002 were overshadowed by a figure skating scandal.
Also, there are only two American members of the IOC which means the US doesn't enjoy the built-in voting blocs favouring other cities.
Finally there's the excellent point made by Associated Press sports columnist Tim Dahlberg: "They can't even bribe the voters anymore, a sport in which Chicagoans excel." ·
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