In a taped video message, Barack Obama made a personal appeal for the 2016 Olympics to come to his home city of Chicago.
“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 major 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.
“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 in the 90-minute spot. “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.”
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.”
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.