This week, the President, his wife and Oprah Winfrey are making a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark to lobby the International Olympic Committee to bring the 2016 Summer Games to their shared hometown of Chicago. This is the very first time a US president has personally lobbied the IOC for this purpose.
The other nations vying for the honor – and the billion dollar economic booster shot that hosting the games delivers – include Madrid, Spain, Rio De Janiero, Brazil and Tokyo, Japan. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will also be in Copenhagen to advocate for Rio. King Juan Carlos of Spain and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be there also, talking up Spain, and new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will be there to represent Tokyo. Some have criticized the President for making this trip while he is so occupied with many other critical issues from the healthcare debate to the environment, to the economy. From my perspective, I think that it is important for him to spend a little time on seeking to host the games. The Olympics is one of those rare events that helps citizens of all nations take a step back from the trials and tribulations of the very serious challenges of government and society. It provides us all with a vehicle for looking at humanity in a more noble light. It reminds us all that we share the same human condition regardless of socio-economic status. The field of athletic competition is level, unlike the fields of commerce, trade, battle and others where some nations have significant advantages over others. So for this reason – for the Games’ ability to get the world to focus on a more pure sense of competition and human camraderie – I support President Obama’s decision to make a quick trip for this purpose. What do you think?