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President Obama Talks Up Chicago 2016


April 6, 2009: The International Olympic Committee is in Chicago, and the members received a welcome from President Barack Obama over the weekend, on video, at least. IOC evaluation commission members are surveying Chicago to assess the city’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Chicago is the first of four cities the IOC will visit, followed by Tokyo (IOC officials visit the bid city April 16-19), Rio de Janeiro (April 29-May 2) and Madrid (May 5-8). President Obama greeted the IOC with a message that explained that, whiile he could not be there in person, "I long have supported hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in my home city of Chicago . . . Chicago is that most American of American cities – a city that reflects the decency, honesty, and generosity of our people; a city of broad shoulders, big dreams, and a bright future," President Obama offered. "It’s a city where the world’s races, and religions, and nationalities all live and work and play and reach for the American Dream that brought them here; where our civic parades wave the colors of every culture; where our classrooms are filled with the sounds of the world’s languages; and where jazz and rancheras and bhangra can be heard down the street from one another.” Obama, who maintains a residence in the city, was invited by Chicago 2016 to attend the meetings when the IOC selects the host for the 2016 Summer Games in October. “This is our opportunity to take the IOC into our parklands and neighborhoods and show them how integrated our Games plan truly is into the heart of the city,” Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, said in a statement. “We enjoy this opportunity to demonstrate our plan to put the athlete and sport at the center of the Games—surrounded by the diverse city and steps from Chicago’s hospitality and cultural centers.” Back to Home Page

President Obama's video speech to the IOC is here.