President Obama will travel this week to Copenhagen, Denmark, to make a big push for holding the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Chicago, Illinois, the White House said Monday.
Obama will join other administration officials and first lady Michelle Obama in pitching Chicago to the International Olympic Committee on Friday, spokesman Robert Gibbs said. No other U.S. president has ever attended an IOC vote. Chicago is vying for the Summer Games against Madrid, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leaders from Brazil, Spain and Japan are expected to also make in-person pitches. The United States has hosted four Summer Olympic Games. The games were held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904; in Los Angeles, California, in 1932 and 1984; and in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996. The last U.S. city to host the Olympics was Salt Lake City, Utah, which was the venue for the 2002 Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee will vote on the host city Friday in Copenhagen. In April, the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Chicago over Los Angeles as the U.S. bid city. Earlier, three other U.S. cities were in the running: Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California. Obama held an event at the White House earlier this month to rally for Chicago as the host city. “I may live in Washington these days, but I’ve called Chicago home for nearly 25 years,” Obama said. “It’s a city of broad shoulders, big hearts, and bold dreams. A city of legendary sports figures, legendary sports venues and legendary sports fans. “We want these games!” Obama exclaimed, drawing applause. While in Denmark, the president and first lady will meet with Queen Margrethe II and her husband, Prince Henrik, the White House said in a release. Obama also is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Lars Lkke Rasmussen. Obama will leave Thursday night and return Friday afternoon, the White House said.