No Favourites In 2016 Race – Rogge

The Associated Press reports that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge says he expects the race for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be decided by “a couple of votes”, and shouldn’t hinge on whether U.S. President Barack Obama goes to Denmark to push for his home city’s bid.

Rogge told The Associated Press, “I see really no favourite. I think it’s going to be a very close vote. I think the final vote will be decided by a couple of votes only”.

Rogge said he expects the result to be as close or closer than the vote in Singapore in 2005 when London defeated Paris by four votes in the final round of voting for the 2012 Summer Games.

He added, “there is no favourite. There is no bid that is lagging behind. All the scenarios are possible”.

Although Brazil’s President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, and King Juan Carlos of Spain are expected to attend; and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan have been invited, Rogge said he has no information about Obama’s plans and had firm confirmation only of the Spanish king’s attendance. He said, “I expect this to come out probably in a fortnight at the latest because there are security arrangements, there are protocol issues, there is accommodation”.

According to The Associated Press Rogge dismissed speculation that Chicago’s chances will be harmed if Obama doesn’t go. He said, “absolutely not. There is no obligation to come there. There is neither a tradition for all the heads of states to come. We wouldn’t see that as being negative whatsoever. I’m sure that if a head of state will not be coming that head of state will definitely make a video presentation or send letters and things like that”.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told a press conference Thursday that Obama isn’t currently scheduled to attend the bid’s presentation. He said, “as far as the schedule I have seen, that is not planned. This country’s bid is very well represented and seems to be making progress”.

Rogge said he believes most IOC members already know their choice for 2016, but that “two or three or four votes” could be swung by the final presentations on the day of the vote, reports The Associated Press.

Rogge said he welcomed the vote by the Chicago city council on Wednesday agreeing to take full financial responsibility for the Games, including any deficit.