POSTED: October 2nd 2009

Obama's 2016 vision: Restoring America's link with the world

IOC President Jacques Rogge and President Obama / Image: IOC/ R. Juilliart
IOC President Jacques Rogge and President Obama / Image: IOC/ R. Juilliart

KEIR RADNEDGE in COPENHAGEN / Sports Features Communications

OCT 02: Helping America to re-engage with the world was the tantaling prospect held out to the Olympic movement by President Barack Obama, speaking in dramatic and electrifying support of Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Games.

Obama had arrived in Copenhagen at 7.51m local time and flew back out, with wife Michelle, immediately after his city’s opening presentation.

His eight-and-a-half-minute speech addressed all the expected wider issues about the United States’ re-engagement with the world and how a vote for Chicago could act as a catalyst in this process.

But his most effective intervention was later, in a response to a question from the Pakistan IOC member Syed Shahid Ali who had asked about how Chicago might address the “harrowing experience” encountered by visitors to the US.

Obama’s reply was a response and an ethical declaration. He said: “One of the legacies I want to see coming out of Chicago 2016 is a reminder that America, at its best, is open to the world and we are putting the full force of the White House and State Department into make sure that not only is this a successful Games but that visitors from all around the world feel welcome and will come away with a sense of the incredible diversity of the American people.

“I was very impressed with the part of our presentation matching up host families for the athletes who will be there because we’ve got everyone – this could be a meeting in Chicago because we look like the world – and, over the last several years sometimes that fundamental truth about the United States has been lost.

“One of the legacies of this Olympic Games would be the restoration of that understanding of what the United States is all about – and a recognition of how we are linked to the world.”

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · Chicago · IOC · Obama

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