Thursday, October 1, 2009
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
COPENHAGEN - Having one-on-one VIP meetings, dining with dignitaries and stars, flattering Olympic officials by taking notice of the little things that count, Michele Obama wasted no time going to work for her hometown.
Her job: pitching Chicago for the 2016 Olympics and making every minute count.
The first lady arrived here Wednesday to lend her support to the city's efforts to win those games. As head of Chicago's delegation - and her husband's representative until he arrives Friday - she plans to meet with as many International Olympic Committee members as possible to try to persuade them to pick the city over Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.
President Barack Obama has been an ardent supporter of the bid since he was a U.S. Senator, and he's been working the phones in recent weeks. But when it looked as if the health care debate might keep him in Washington, he asked his wife to go to Copenhagen to meet with IOC members.
Although IOC president Jacques Rogge has taken great pains to say heads of state aren't expected to attend, their presence has been instrumental in recent votes. Tony Blair is widely credited for tipping the 2012 vote in London's favor, spending two days doing one-on-one meetings with IOC members in his hotel suite. Vladimir Putin did much the same thing two years later, when Sochi won the 2014 Olympics.