Officials aiming to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Tokyo fear that Sen. Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. presidential election will have a positive effect on the bid of his adopted hometown of Chicago, one of the three rival cities competing with Tokyo to host the games.
“I wonder how IOC members will react when Mr. Obama appears in a presentation for Chicago,” Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said Wednesday.
Tokyo, Chicago, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro have moved to the final phase of the selection process after their bid plans were given the nod by the International Olympic Committee in June.
The IOC will name the host city of the 2016 Olympics at its general assembly meeting in Copenhagen on Oct. 2, 2009.
“Mr. Obama is popular and good at speeches, so things could get tough for Japan,” said Tomiaki Fukuda, a senior JOC executive board member.
But Ichiro Kono, the 2016 Tokyo Olympics campaign chief, showed a subdued reaction to Obama’s victory, saying, “It was within expectations. We will just do what we have to do no matter who becomes U.S. president.”
“But it’s good that a person who recognizes the Olympic movement has become leader,” Kono added.