POSTED: April 4th 2009

Obama talks up Chicago 2016

President Obama: special welcome / lake images
President Obama: special welcome / lake images

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

CHICAGO: Just in case the IOC wondered about the strength of the united front being paraded by Chicago, up stepped its most charismatic supporter in President Barack Obama.

A pre-recorded video message from the President welcomed members of the International Olympic Committee evaluation commission visiting the city on the first leg of their round-world trip to assess the four candidates to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Chicago is President Obama’s recent home town and he described it as This is a city that lives and breathes the ideal of excellence a city of “legendary sports figures, legendary sports venues and legendary sports fans.”

Broad shoulders

After the formal introduction and welcome, he said: “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.

“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.

“That’s because in Chicago, we recognize that although we come from vastly different stories and very different walks of life, we are one people who share the common values and common ideals of determination and hard work; who celebrate individual excellence but also share a recognition that together, we can accomplish great things we cannot accomplish alone.


“This is a city that lives and breathes the ideal of perseverance; that rebuilt after a great fire and taught the world to build towards the sky; that reversed the course of a mighty river; that laid this nation’s railroads and forged this nation’s steel; that launched a fair that captivated the world; and built a park for the new millennium that is the marvel of all who see it.

“This is a city that lives and breathes the ideal of excellence; a city of legendary sports figures, legendary sports venues, and legendary sports fans; a city whose architecture is renowned around the globe; a city whose great universities are unlocking the mysteries of science, pushing the very boundaries of medicine, and investigating the unknowns of our history; and a city that Mayor Daley has pledged to make the greenest in America. 

“Under his leadership, Chicago is in the 21st century what it was in the 20th century and the 19th century – not just a great American city, but one of the great cities of the world.

“Diversity.  Perseverance.  Excellence.  That is what Chicago has always stood for.  And few have embodied Chicago’s spirit more than one of this city’s – and one of America’s – greatest architects, Daniel Burnham.

Great buildings

“Nearly a century ago, Burnham laid out a plan for Chicago that still guides its growth today.  And in words that have stood the test of time as well as some of his own greatest buildings, Burnham once advised us to: ‘make no small plans; they have no magic to stir the soul.’

“Those words aren’t just remembered today.  They’re being lived out by the Chicago 2016 organizers standing before you, by the people who call Chicago home, and by all those men and women across America who are eager to welcome the world to our shores and who have taken up our city’s Olympic dream as their own.

“After your visit, once you discover the Chicago that I know – the city that I made my home, the city where my wife grew up, the city where we raised our daughters just blocks from where these games will be held – I am confident you will discover that you’re already in the perfect host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“And when those games are finally held here, I promise you this: they will not only stir the soul of this city, they will not only stir the soul of America, they will stir the soul of the entire world.  Thank you.”

The IOC decides, in Copenhagen on October 2, between Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

Keywords · IOC · Olympic Games · 2016 · Chicago · Obama · evaluation commission

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Laura Walden ()

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