POSTED: August 10th 2009

Streeter underlines USOC support for Chicago 2016 bid

Larry Probst: complex issues / USOC
Larry Probst: complex issues / USOC

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/LONDON: The United States Olympic Committee has moved, better late than never, to underline its support for Chicago's bid to defeat challenges from Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo and win hosting rights to the 2016 Olympic Games.

Chicago supporters had grown increasingly worried over the past six months that the USOC was less than enthusiastic about its own city's attempt to bring the summer Games back for the first time since Atlanta in 1996.

These concerns had been fuelled by the ongoing controversy over the US' share of Olympic revenues plus a rebuke from the IOC over the announcement of plans to launch an Olympic TV channel.

Now Stephanie Streeter, chief executive officer of the USOC, has issued a statement insisting that Chicago has the organisation's full support. Her statement had been in response to media speculation that several other US cities were considering further Olympic bids. considering future Olympic bids. 

She said: "While it is always encouraging to see enthusiasm for the Olympic movement, the USOC has been on record for more than two years in proclaiming that there will be absolutely no consideration of any future bids - winter or summer - from the US while Chicago is on the international stage. 

"Let me reiterate that position in the most adamant terms.  Chicago is not only our current bid city, it is our only bid city, and it is the sole focus of our efforts."

Streeter pointed out that only 52 days remained until the International Olympic Committee makes its 2016 decision in Copenhagen on October 2.

Hopes and dreams

She added: "All of our hopes and dreams for bringing the Olympic Games back to the United States are anchored in Chicago 2016. Through our enduring bidding partnership, Chicago 2016 has earned our gratitude and respect.  The City of Broad Shoulders has placed the United States in a great position to bring home the world's greatest celebration of humanity.

"From my point-of-view, what Chicago Mayor Daley and Chicago 2016 Chair and CEO Pat Ryan have accomplished in their quest for the Games is nothing less than extraordinary."

Streeter praised the Games venues plan, the legacy programme and the partnership-building with the Obama Administration which had helped inspire the creation of a White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport.

She added: "In short, they have managed to capture the imagination of individuals and organizations across our country and have achieved a degree of national interest that no previous U.S. bid has been able to mount.

"With less than two months to go before the IOC's decision in Copenhagen, two months in which it is essential for us to capture the attention of the global Olympic Family, it is equally essential that the USOC sustain a 110 percent focus on the needs of Chicago 2016.

"So, with all due respect to those cities that are dreaming about one day bidding for the Games, now is not the time.  This is Chicago's time.  Please join all of us at the USOC in standing with Chicago 2016.  Given what they've accomplished in projecting the right image for our country, it is clear they have earned our full respect and devotion."

Critics of the USOC may wonder that the United States' own national Olympic committee had even felt it necessary, so close to the vote, to underline its support for its own bidding candidate . . .

Keywords · Chicago 2016 · USOC · IOC · Streeter · Copenhagen

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