We could almost hear the collective sigh of relief and renewed hope coming from inside the Chicago 2016 offices when Barack Obama was elected the nation's 44th President last November. Almost immediately, the powers-that-be within the local Olympic bid organization trying to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago seemed to fixate ever more intently on Obama as the man who could get sports' biggest event to the Windy City.
And from what we've heard about the goings-on inside Chicago 2016 since Obama's election and subsequent inauguration, the President continues to be viewed as the most potent weapon in the city's Olympic bid arsenal. That was underscored in an e-mail we received this week from the Chicago 2016 press office that was comprised of Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO Pat Ryan's rather fawning "reflections" on Obama and his inauguration, which Ryan and his family traveled to Washington, D.C. to witness. Among the things noted in Ryan's remarks was the generous face time he and his family got with Obama while in Washington. "You could see his (Obama's) ability to directly communicate one-on-one," said Ryan, adding "I got a strong sense that he is going to continue to relate really well to the American people as President."
On the matter of what the Obama presidency means to Chicago 2016, Ryan said Obama "sees himself as a unifier, and in that sense, the President's agenda and Chicago 2016's message are completely aligned." Ryan went on to note that Obama is "an athlete, so for him sport is personal, as it is for all of us at the bid."