Fri, October 02, 2009
World > Americas > 2016 Summer Olympic bid

Obama joins Chicago final presentation for hosting 2016 Olympics

2009-10-02 08:08:43 GMT2009-10-02 16:08:43 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

US President and former Illinois senator Barack Obama presends Chicago's bid for a chance to host the 2016 summer Olympics in the conference hall in Copenhagen. Obama took a brief respite from a packed political agenda to visit Copenhagen on a mission to capture the 2016 Olympics for his cherished hometown of Chicago. (Reuters Photo)

COPENHAGEN, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama joined here on Friday Chicago bid team's final presentation for hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

He urged the 121st Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to choose Chicago as the host city of the 31st Summer Olympic Games.

"I came here today as a passionate supporter" of the Olympics and "a strong believer of the movement it represents", he said to the 100 or so IOC members, who are going to select the to select the host city among Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid later Friday after teams of all the four cities make their final presentations.

"I urge you to choose Chicago, and I urge you to choose America," Obama said.

"If you do, we walk this path together ... Chicago will make the world proud," said Obama, who originally decided to stay at home to push forward his health care plan but later carved out several hours from his tight schedule to come to Copenhagen to woo support for his claimed hometown, Chicago.

"We look forward to welcoming the world in Chicago in 2016," he said.

His wife Michelle made a passionate speech asking the voters to choose Chicago, where she was born and raised and taught by her late father about the meaning of sports.

"Chicago wants the Games," she said. Michelle came to the Danish capital on Wednesday to have one-on-one meetings with IOC members to woo support for Chicago.

"I was born and raised in Chicago", she said, recalling her sports experiences during her childhood.

She had never before dreamed that her hometown and her neighborhood could host an Olympic Games, but today she was inspired and could dream that many could achieve through hard work.

"I ask you to choose Chicago and choose America," said the first lady of the country, who was eager to welcome the world to let them see what Chicago could do.

Tears in eyes, Michelle also urged the voters to choose Chicago as the daughter of her father, who taught her how to throw a ball and the fundamental meaning of sports, and who never gave up sports even during on crutches during his final days.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley also made a passionate speech at the session.

"Chicago wants the Games," Daley said.

The people of Chicago "are passionate about the Games. They all want the Games in Chicago," he said. "You and the world will be proud of it."

He pledged that the Windy City would ensure a most successful Olympic Games if the city was given the right to host the largest sports event on earth.

Pat Ryan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chicago 2016,told the audience that Chicago would bring the young people to the movement of the Olympics and the city would focus on its future work on Olympics in the six years to come.

"Chicago is clean and safe," he said. "Best of all, you are really going to have a lot of fun."

The Chicago team officials all boasted the city's sports facilities, environment and financial factors. They also wanted to attract the attention of the voters with the people factor.

"People build sports," one of the team members said. "We have new coaches in the field and we have champions in school."

As many as 106 IOC members as of September 2009, only 97 of them could vote from beginning to end as nationals of the countries of candidate cities are not allowed to vote unless their candidates are eliminated.

Rogge decided not to vote, while South Korea's Kun Hee Lee was suspended.

Chicago is expected to have a tight race with Brazil's Rio de Janeiro, whose bid team is to make its final presentation in the afternoon.

Chicago 2016's vision is to welcome the world in the heart of the City using mostly existing facilities and temporary venues within a number of public parks on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The Olympic Village, the IBC/MPC and many hotels would be centrally located and 22 competition venues would be within 8 km of the city center, resulting in a compact venue plan with minimum travel times for athletes and other client groups.

Games planning is closely aligned to the city's continuing urban planning strategies aiming to leave sustainable environmental, social and sports legacies for the community, particularly for youth, rather than to construct permanent major sports venues.

Paralympic Games delivery has been fully integrated into Games planning. The Games would be used to support and further develop the city's commitment to accessibility and social inclusion.

The city is proud of its well-designed and compact lakefront Olympic Village.

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