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Heads Of State/government At Opening?


Kenadian
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I know a lot of Heads of State attend the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, especially for the Summer Games. I recall seeing clips of many foreign leaders in Atlanta, Athens, Barcelona, and Beijing. But do they attend the Winter Games? I recall a few in Salt Lake (post 9/11) and a few Canadians in Torino (as the "next" hosts). But will Vancouver welcome the likes of Putin, Obama, Sarkozy, and Gordon? Or will we just get Dorothy Hamill and Joe Biden?

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I must have missed Jeremie's post. I wonder who will be coming? The Russians are likely to send someone big given that Sochi will be picking up the flag. I'm sure the typical lot of crowned heads from Europe will be there given that their countries have strong winter performances and many of them have IOC connections. And likely to see some presence from countries bidding for 2016 and 2018 - good chance to press the flesh with the IOC.

I'm curious who the Americans and Chinese will send - both are big countries, recent hosts, and have close ties with Canada. I'd love to see Obama there, but given his security needs and whatever more pressing issue there is in Washington at the time, we're more likely to get Vice President Biden or State Secretary Clinton.

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Well, I've looked it up and it seems only Cherie Blair made an appearence in Torino in 2006.

Well, one could say there wasn't much interest and hype leading up to Torino. Vancouver should be a major improvement. At the very least, i could see Michelle Obama and her kids coming here.....and of course, Putin for the closing ceremonies.

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The Tories will almost certainly win the next election unless something dramatic happens, but I've got a feeling Brown may hang on till the last possible moment before he calls it. I think, with the economy in the state that it's in, Brown may feel he wants to govern his way through the recession rather than have to deal with a sliding economy and an election in the middle of this year.

It's all speculation of course and you're right, there have been murmerings about an Autumn vote. But that's my feeling at the moment.

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Don't hold your breath for the Aussie PM to come. I don't think our PMs have ever gone to the winter games. I don't even think they've gone to many offshore Summer Games - Rudd in Beijing may have been the exception rather than the rule (and that was probably only because that until the GFC hit, we were happy to take lots of money off China in exchange for whatever we could dig out of the ground).

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Well, one could say there wasn't much interest and hype leading up to Torino. Vancouver should be a major improvement. At the very least, i could see Michelle Obama and her kids coming here.....and of course, Putin for the closing ceremonies.

I worked in the Protocol team at Torino 2006. We assisted dignitaries from all over the world, here comes some numbers from the Opening Ceremony:

22 Head of States

12 members of the Royal families from all over the world and "First Ladies", for example Laura Bush with daughters, Cherie Blair etc.

23 Prime Ministers

53 Sports Ministers

All these dignitaries, IOC members and many, many VIP's assisted the Opening Ceremony at the "Stadio Olimpico" of Torino on 10th February 2006.

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In fact, at the Torino Olympic Games I assisted the Kings of Norway and Sweden, the President and Prime Minister of Finland, and numerous other Ministers from these countries.

They were numerous especially in the venues that hosted nordic events like cross country skiing, ski jumping/nordic combined, ice hockey. But naturally also in alpine skiing venues.

Also The Prince Albert of Monaco (Monte Carlo) was easy to find around, but he's a member of IOC, so...you'll find him everywhere in Vancouver!

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Now that Harper seems to have escaped being defeated by the coalition because of the federal budget, it will be interesting on how many heads of state would want to go to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Don't forget that the G8 Summit in Ontario later that year could have more heads of state and dignitaries attending it.

So, a bigger question comes to mind: will it be Vancouver 2010 or Huntsville, Ontario, that they would come in bigger numbers?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a feeling that Obama's likelihood of coming to Vancouver 2010 has increased significantly: Obama told Jean he wants to return to Canada with his family. "He told her he would like to see her again,"

The 2010 Games would sure make a pretty good reunion, with Jean declaring the Games open and the big party going on. :P

Jean and Obama really hit it off....

3294187502_a658ffe87a.jpg

"He said to her that he knew that, that he'd been informed that he was very popular in Canada. Then he joked and he added, `Well, it's good to know because if things do not go well for me in the States, I know I can come to Canada.'

"That's why she was laughing so much."

Obama invites Michaëlle Jean to Washington

Feb 21, 2009 04:30 AM

Tonda MacCharles

Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA–Governor General Michaëlle Jean discussed the plight of her native Haiti with U.S. President Barack Obama, who invited her to come to Washington – an invitation that was not extended to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.:lol:

American aides to the president who briefed the travelling White House reporters en route back to Washington Thursday said Obama and the Governor General exchanged "views about how we could be helpful to the government there in dealing with economic and social issues."

"The president made clear that this is something that he did care about and wanted to confer and get the views of others about how we could do a better job in supporting economic and social development in Haiti," said James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state.

"President Obama told (Jean) that he'd like to talk further with her on this issue," said Marthe Blouin, an aide to the Governor General.

Obama told Jean he wants to return to Canada with his family. "He told her he would like to see her again," Blouin said.:cheers:

"And he said to her that he would love to see her in Washington as well."

Asked yesterday to comment on Jean's discussions with Obama, a senior Conservative government spokesperson would not say whether Jean's interventions were requested by the Prime Minister, but he was quick to say they were not unwelcome either.

"I think that Canadians looking at the Governor General walking down the red carpet with the president of the United States yesterday probably felt very proud and well represented and I don't think we have any concern around the role that the Governor General played in the meetings yesterday. I think quite the opposite. I think she was doing her duty as head of state in Canada and doing it well."

It was clear Canada's first black governor general and Obama, the first black American president, hit it off. They beamed as they strode down a red carpet together.

At one point, cameras captured Jean tossing back her head in laughter. "At that moment she was telling him that she felt it was like a love affair between him and Canadians," Blouin said later.

"He said to her that he knew that, that he'd been informed that he was very popular in Canada. Then he joked and he added, `Well, it's good to know because if things do not go well for me in the States, I know I can come to Canada.'

"That's why she was laughing so much."

Steinberg said the two also discussed the Summit of the Americas in April in Trinidad "because of her background in the region" and spoke of "the importance of paying attention to the hemisphere."

Jean, who returned in January from a working visit to Haiti, told Obama about its new prime minister, Michèle Pierre-Louis, whom she described as "very dynamic and worth knowing," Blouin said.

While Jean emphasized that Haiti is politically stable, she said the situation is "terrible at the moment with the food crisis and it's even worse after the hurricanes and tropical storms of last summer and early fall and even worse with the economic crisis and the recession."

The Harper government spokesperson told reporters Thursday that Obama had not invited Harper to Washington at this time and their next meeting would be the international G20 and NATO meetings in April in Europe.

U.S. media reports on the visit were positive, focusing on Obama's stated affection for America's biggest trading partner during his first foreign trip as president.

Time magazine reported that the president expressed "an unprecedented depth of emotion for Canada, where Obama has a higher approval rating than any domestic politician."

The Christian Science Monitor wrote: "The trip offered balm to a relationship rocked in recent years by differences over the Iraq war and, more recently, worries over protectionism."

The main photo on the front page of the New York Times, meanwhile, was a shot of a woman carrying a cardboard cutout of Obama while walking past the Peace Tower.

With files from The Canadian Press

http://news.google.ca/news?q=obama%20jean&...l=en&tab=wn

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I wouldn't be surprised if Barack and tall and in-charge wife Michelle both attend. If Barack, heaven forbid, suffers a defeat in 2012 this would likely be his best chance to make an appearance to the IOC community. In light of his new foreign policies, he will be having strong interests in reaching out to capitals across the globe in non-confrontational settings (such as the OG), especially if some foreign policy change means scrapping non-beneficial economic practices that some partner nations take for granted and could be upset by their reversals. His high approval rating, so far, isn't going to challenge him going to Vancouver.

Not only that, but VANOC would be more than pleased to be getting extra security manpower by way of the presence of the secret service. :)

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If Barack, heaven forbid, suffers a defeat in 2012 this would likely be his best chance to make an appearance to the IOC community.

Our Olympics starts in July. Aren't your elections in Novemeber?

Obama and Cameron will probably be shaking hands in 2012 in London.

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I wouldn't be surprised if Barack and tall and in-charge wife Michelle both attend. If Barack, heaven forbid, suffers a defeat in 2012 this would likely be his best chance to make an appearance to the IOC community. In light of his new foreign policies, he will be having strong interests in reaching out to capitals across the globe in non-confrontational settings (such as the OG), especially if some foreign policy change means scrapping non-beneficial economic practices that some partner nations take for granted and could be upset by their reversals. His high approval rating, so far, isn't going to challenge him going to Vancouver.

Not only that, but VANOC would be more than pleased to be getting extra security manpower by way of the presence of the secret service. :)

I think if the Obamas were winter sports enthusiasts, they might attend. But as they are more the Hawaii-Caribbean type, Vancouver MIGHT not be high on the list unless Harper just invited him AND of course Chicago wins in October. Of course, he could send the Great Gov'ner of Alaska, Her Excellency, Sarah Palin as his personal representative.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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