WASHINGTON—It’s a nailbiter of an Olympic afternoon for Daley and company.
I’m at the Hilton Washington Embassy Row hotel. The U.S Olympic Committee Board of Directors will announce in a few hours whether Chicago gets the nod to be the U.S. entry for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games.
A six-member panel, led by Mayor Daley and Patrick Ryan, the chairman and CEO of the Chicago 2016 Exploratory Committee, gave a final pitch to the board behind closed doors. Besides Daley and Ryan, there was 2016 vice chair Valerie Jarrett, banker and former Commerce Secretary William Daley, board member Linda Mastandrea and Michael Conley, executive director of World Sport Chicago.
Los Angeles made their 11th hour appeals after Chicago.
There’s a gaggle of Chicago print and broadcast press here, with a much smaller contingent from Los Angeles. Five Chicago television stations; zero from L.A. My Sun-Times colleagues reporter Andrew Herrmann and columnist Jay Mariotti are doing the heavy lifting today.
Chicago officials briefed reporters after they gave their presentation:
Ryan said the board had questions about the venues, security and financial guarantees.
Daley called it a “dialogue” and added “it isn’t softball.”
Conley said the board “wanted to understand perfectly what was in front of them.”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said their briefing that the board signaled that "this is going to be a tough decision for them." He said one of the selling points is that he speaks Spanish. He also mentioned he works out two hours a day and sleeps four hours a night. If Chicago wins, L.A. will help Chicago lobby the International Olympic Committee to land the games for the U.S.
"You'll see me schlep, wherever Mayor Daley wants, said Villaraigosa, showing he knows at least a word of Yiddish as well.
William Daley, when he came to the podium, summed up the situation in terms of what seems the point here. The real chore for the U.S. Olympic leaders is dealing with the politics of picking a city that can win international approval during balloting in 2009 and get the Olympics located in the U.S. instead of in another country. With anti-U.S. sentiment running high because of the Iraq war, that is no small point.
Officials estimate a city needsat least 60 votes from the International Olympic Committee to win.
Saturday represents a primary, said William Daley, who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000. The point for the U.S is to “win the general election 30 months away.”
And the winner is…..