Bid Leader Says Chicago 2016 Not a Front Runner – Obama Records Message

Pat Ryan, head of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Games, told AFP Thursday that Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States does not make Chicago the front runner in the race for the 2016 Games.

In fact Ryan, in Istanbul to present Chicago’s bid to the European Olympic Committees, conceded that Tokyo and Madrid, two of Chicago’s three rivals, were ahead technically.

Ryan did admit that Obama’s election had obviously helped in turning the spotlight on Chicago and they could count on his public support. He said, “his election has put Chicago into a very bright light. He is both very popular inside and outside the United States. I believe that the interest he expressed in the bid on the domestic front will be transferred onto the international one”.

Ryan said, “he supports our bid and came to a rally in Chicago. But we have to keep it in perspective and maintain our eye on the ball and do what we have to do to win the race”.

Ryan added that the present global financial crisis would not affect the bid, or future funding of the Games. He said, “we’ve raised the funds for the bid and are in quite good shape”.

Meanwhile President-elect Obama has taken time away from planning his administration to record a new pitch for Chicago’s bid.

ABC news has learned that Obama’s message will be played Friday, and on the tape the President-elect reportedly talks of his commitment to bringing the Games to Chicago in 2016, and his belief that the Olympics can help improve struggling neighbourhoods in the city.