In 2009, during the scramble to land the 2016 Summer Games, Obama hoped a successful Olympic bid would offer the U.S. a boost in a down economy. He wanted his home town of Chicago to host the games badly enough that he traveled to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Copenhagen in September to lobby directly, making him the first U.S. President to make a pitch for the games in person. At the time, Swampland wrote that Obama’s “international celebrity” was central to Chicago’s bid—and arguably at stake in his effort. The allure of hosting the games in South America was too strong, and the IOC gave Rio the honors instead. Perhaps that experience explains why Obama is not attending the London 2012 games. First Lady Michelle Obama is going in his stead.