ABC NEWS' Yunji de Nies Reports:
What went wrong? How did Chicago, with seemingly so much momentum - thanks to the President, First Lady, and of course, the woman who is her own brand - Oprah - ultimately earn just 18 votes?
Some International Olympic Committee members say they too were surprised at the ultimate lack of enthusiam for the Windy City, but that the decision it came down to sharing the games with a whole new part of the world.
"The problem was not that Chicago did something wrong, I think the problem was that there were four great cities," said Claudia Bokel, an IOC member from Germany told ABC News, "I do think the first time in South America seemed to be quite charming to a lot of people." Rio will be the first city on the continent to host the games, a point Brazil's President Lula Da Silva heavily emphasized in his final presentation. "For the others, it will be just one more Games," he said, "For South America, it will be a magical moment."
He later continued, "And it will also be a chance to send a powerful message to the whole world: the Olympic Games belong to all peoples, to all continents to all mankind." IOC members say this was not a vote against President Obama, but one for that kind of expansion. In fact, many praised Chicago's effort, particularly the First Lady's personal pitch, which focused on her father's struggle with multiple sclerosis and his passion for sports in wider the context of the Paralymic Games. "Michelle Obama was very, very, very tough. She’s the woman of the day," said French IOC member Guy Drut.
But many IOC members likely knew who they were voting for long before this morning's final show down. Chris Rudge, CEO and Secretary General of Canadian Olympic Committee, said the voting comes down to more than the presentation: it's about politics and personal relationships. "This is a world that is driven by 115 very unique and special people, who look at the world as the IOC members and then there’s world royalty, and then there’s heads of state and then there’s major corporate leaders and then there’s the rest of you riff rafff, and so they’re accountable only to themselves," he said, "There are lot of quid pro-quo exchange favors there and these decisions can become very, very personal. The merit of the bid is important, but the world politics is important." Rudge remarked that if he were American, he would find the final tally "insulting" but U.S. IOC member Anita De Frantz says while the vote was "shocking" she disagrees. "I think the best explanation is that a number of members wanted to go to a different part of the world," De Frantz said.
De Frantz participated Chicago's presentation and so was not permitted to vote for her team. She said the Obamas impressed the members, but that this vote was not about them.
"Everyone wanted to have their picture with both of them everyone wanted to be near him so no, no, no he won. Chicago didn’t," she said.