Obama Makes Pitch for 2016 Chicago Olympics (Video)

November 25, 2008

barack-obama101.jpgPresident-elect Barack Obama made a personal appeal Friday to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to his home city of Chicago. Obama appeared in a 90-second taped video message played by Chicago bid leaders to the general assembly of European Olympic Committees, the largest regional group in the Olympic movement.

“The United States would be honored to have the opportunity to host the games and serve the Olympic movement,” said Obama, wearing a dark suit and sitting at a desk in his Chicago transition office. “As president elect, I see the Olympics and Paralympic Games as an opportunity for our nation to reach out, welcome the world to our shores and strengthen our friendships across the globe.”
Obama, who lives a few blocks from Chicago’s proposed 2016 Olympic stadium, offers a potential boost for the city’s chances of taking the Summer Games back to the United States for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Chicago is competing against Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, which also made presentations Friday to the European body. The International Olympic Committee will vote on the host city Oct. 2 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“I deeply believe in the Olympic mission and have long supported hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in my home city of Chicago,” Obama said. “Over the past two years, I have spoken often about my belief that while we may come from different places and backgrounds, there are certain shared values that unite us, values at the heart of the Olympic movement: friendship, excellence and mutual respect.”
Photos of Obama were sprinkled throughout Chicago’s 20-minute presentation, including a shot of him delivering his acceptance speech in Grant Park. His taped message was introduced by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who said they share a goal of inspiring young people to participate in sports.
“Chicago 2016 now enjoys a remarkable level of support from our government , an unprecedented partnership for a U.S. candidate city , from City Hall in Chicago to the White House in Washington D.C.,” bid leader Patrick Ryan said.
Obama went out of his way to appeal to the international audience, which included up to two dozen voting IOC members.
“In the coming years, my administration will bring a fresh perspective on America’s role and responsibilities around the world,” Obama said. “But if we are to truly meet our shared challenges, we must all work together.
“By uniting the world in a peaceful celebration of human achievement, the Olympic games reminds us that this is possible.”
Obama’s remarks, which were taped last Friday, were greeted by warm applause in the conference hall.
“I think it was very dramatic,” said Patrick Hickey, an Irish IOC member who heads the European body. “I think everybody in the room was impressed with that. It added a great touch of spice to the Chicago presentation. The message was excellent. He was very gracious to the Olympic movement.”
The Chicago bid officials presented one of its videos entirely in French, the official Olympic language along with English.
The video showed images of Chicago’s skyline, Lake Michigan, museums, restaurants, theaters and sports venues. Officials said 90 percent of the athletes would live within 15 minutes of their competition venues.
“I pledge to you that Chicago will deliver a wonderful games experience with full stadiums and arenas,” Ryan said. “Chicago surprises. Chicago inspires. Chicago unites.”
In its presentation, Rio borrowed one of Obama’s signature lines to argue why the Olympics should go to South America for the first time.
“We are ready. We are committed,” said Sergio Cabral, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro. “And, I hope that you will make the historic choice in Copenhagen. Yes, we can.”
Carlos Nuzman, head of the Rio bid and Brazil’s national Olympic committee, cited the city’s experience of hosting the 2007 Pan Am Games and said the national economy would be the world’s fifth largest in 2016.
Madrid, which finished third in the voting for the 2012 Olympics, portrayed itself as a secure choice at a time of economic turmoil.
Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., son of the former IOC president, said Madrid offers ‘the best possible combination of reliability and vitality.” He noted that 77 percent of venues were ready or under construction.
Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, said Japan needs the games again to inspire young people, fight youth obesity and transform the capital city.
Tokyo officials also said Japan offers financial security.
“The Tokyo 2016 budget is secure and unaffected by the current international financial crisis,” bid leader Ichiro Kono said.
Source: AP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: