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Chicago's Bid For 2016 Olympics Faces 'Minefields': AP

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DENVER — More so than any of the three other bid cities, Chicago's quest for the 2016 Summer Games has some potential minefields to traverse.

Chicago organizers hope two big potential problems are put to rest this week: the squabble over the U.S. Olympic Committee's share of Olympic revenue and negative perceptions of the recent upheaval in USOC leadership.

The USOC's new CEO is using this week's SportAccord gathering in Denver to meet and greet the movers and shakers of the international sports community, and the money issue is a major topic at the conference, where the International Olympic Committee executive board meetings are also taking place.

More than 1,500 delegates are attending the conference, which will feature key public presentations Thursday by the four candidates for the 2016 Olympics _ Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

The IOC will select the host city by secret ballot Oct. 2 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

U.S. companies provide the lion's share of the Olympic movement's money through TV and advertising revenue, and the coffers could very well go higher if Chicago wins.

Chicago's Olympic committee is also hoping President Barack Obama's worldwide popularity will help. Obama has been invited to attend the October meeting.

Chicago's biggest obstacle to a winning bid might be the squabble between the USOC and IOC on revenue sharing. Some IOC members want to renegotiate the terms, which they say are overly favorable to the USOC. There's a notion that the issue could negatively impact the Chicago bid if it isn't resolved in the IOC's favor.

"I don't think they're connected, but does that mean that certain individuals wouldn't connect them? I couldn't say that's the case," said Pat Ryan, chairman of the Chicago 2016 bid.

If the issue drags on, it could end up putting a crimp in Chicago's chances.

"It's clearly an issue that the membership would like to see resolved. So, to whatever extent that can be expedited, that would be a good thing," Ryan said. "And if it doesn't get resolved, I think the most important thing to come out of a lack of resolution would be a communication that would keep people sort of current on the process."

Though the Chicago organizers were shocked when the change was announced, Ryan also downplayed the perception that the recent shake-up at the USOC might affect Chicago's bid. Stephanie Streeter arrived Tuesday for her first big Olympics meeting since she unexpectedly replaced Jim Scherr as CEO earlier this month.

Both Scherr and former chairman Peter Ueberroth have been replaced in the past six months. Ueberroth's departure was expected while Scherr's came as a surprise and left an opening for those who criticize the USOC for not having stability at the top.

"The issue of Jim Scherr obviously was not discussed, and I think it surprised a lot of people," Ryan said.

But, he said, Scherr was in his job for six years and Ueberroth for four.

"I don't think people can consider that an organization in turmoil," Ryan said.

Ryan touted Streeter's credentials in both the business world and sports arena and added: "I think the fact that she's a woman is also not a disadvantage. I think people like to see women promoted in sport, or in life in general."

Ryan said upon his arrival at the conference Monday that President Obama planned to attend the meeting in Copenhagen in October barring an emergency. Later, however, he said he wasn't positive about the president's schedule but was hoping Obama would be there.

A few years ago, when London overcame favorite Paris to land the 2012 Games, a strong, in-person push by British Prime Minister Tony Blair was viewed as one of the reasons. However, it might be harder with Obama's greater security detail for him to meet face-to-face with so many IOC members like Blair did.

Obama's election has been widely regarded as a boon for the Chicago bid because of his Illinois background and his worldwide popularity. Obama already has chipped in by providing a video message for the bid for earlier presentations to international delegates.

"I don't think there's any doubt when you look at the popularity of President Obama both in the United States and outside the United States that his presidency is a positive," Ryan said. "The fact that he is a man of sport helps a lot. He's very interested in sport, but so was President Bush.

"But let's face it, after the eight years of the Bush administration, a lot of people were ready for a change, and the country voted that way," Ryan said. "If the election would have been held outside of the U.S., it probably would have been much more dramatic. I think that the way the administration has been operating for most of the election and the first 75 days has been well-received around the world."

"From what I hear from IOC members, they're often very positive toward President Obama and what he's done. It's obviously a net positive."

For Chicago to maximize that benefit, however, the president will likely have to make an appearance in Copenhagen to shake some hands and make his personal pitch.