(The Canadian Press) BEIJING — All four bid cities for the 2016 Olympics met at a reception Saturday organized by Around the Rings and agreed on one thing - they'll have their heads of state front and centre when the final vote takes place next year.
The International Olympic Committee will meet in October 2009 at Copenhagen, Denmark to decide which of the four bidding cities will host the games in 2016 - Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil or Madrid, Spain.
Madrid will likely have the Royal Family, Chicago the U.S. president, Rio de Janeiro the Brazilian president and Tokyo the Japanese prime minister.
Chicago already has endorsements from Barack Obama and John McCain and would like the winner of November's presidential election to help present its candidacy.
"In my opinion, each one of them would want to be there and will be there. That president will want to demonstrate to the world that the U.S., represented by Chicago, wants to welcome the world back to the United States," bid leader Pat Ryan said at the event organized by the Around the Rings Web site.
George W. Bush was the first U.S. president to attend an opening games ceremony at Beijing, while Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was also in attendance.
"Of course he will be there and we can enjoy his support," Tokyo bid leader Ichiro Kono said of the IOC presentation next year.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair successfully lobbied for London's 2012 bid in Singapore in 2005 and former Russian President Vladimir Putin was instrumental in securing Sochi's victory for the 2014 Winter Games in Guatemala last year.
Rio de Janeiro's bid will count on President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who along with football player Pele, provides the Brazilians with perhaps the most potent lineup for the presentation in Copenhagen.
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