Obama officially part of Chicago 2016 pitch

November 21, 2008 4:15:02 PM PST
Mayor Daley has taken Chicago's pitch for the 2016 Summer Olympics to Istanbul, Turkey, and he brought along a message of support for Chicago's bid from president-elect Barack Obama. The support from Obama comes at a crucial time in the bidding process. Friday's gathering in Turkey may be the largest get-together of International Olympic Committee members between now and 'decision day' next October.

The meeting of world leaders was happening as the world-wide economic crisis put new pressure on Olympic host cities.

The Olympics, like every other world organization, is feeling the squeeze of tough times. During their presentations in Turkey Friday, representatives from three of the four candidate cities talked about financial guarantees from their governments that they say make their budgets immune to the economic flu.

The United States does not provide that kind of guarantee. So, Mayor Daley rolled-out a familiar face, president-elect Barack Obama, to put IOC members at ease.

"The United States would be honored to have the opportunity to host the Games and serve the Olympic Movement. As President-elect, I see the Olympic 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 said in a video recording shown during Friday's presentation.

One influential IOC member called the president-elect's pitch "dramatic." Others are surely taking note of Obama's promise for a new direction in foreign policy.

""In the coming years, my administration will bring a fresh perspective on America's role and responsibilities around the world. 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 president-elect also said in the video.

"Not only is he the new face of Chicago, he's the new face of America and around the world," Mayor Daley said.

In Istanbul, Turkey Friday, Mayor Daley led Chicago's efforts to get the Games. Forty-nine of the 111 IOC members who will vote were in the audience as each candidate city made its case.

Chicago's team is trumpeting its compact, city-center plan. However, there are five permanent venues to build, along with some temporary structures like the Olympic stadium.

Unlike the other candidate cities, the U.S. government doesn't directly provide funding for the games. It's an economic reality on the minds of Olympic decision-makers.

"They support us with regards to infrastructure and security, which comprise almost 90 percent of all costs," said Daley.

"Fortunately, as we build the village and venues that are required, they're out in time. We don't have to break ground on construction right now. So, we think that's a nice advantage for us," Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick Ryan said.

Madrid, Spain's sales pitch boils down to one word: reliable. They told IOC voters that 77 percent of its venues are already built.

Rio de Janeiro's hopes to become the first South American city to host the games. Borrowing a phrase from Barack Obama, the Brazilian team says that would bring real "change" to the Olympic movement.

The other candidate city is Tokyo. That city's bid leader has said in recent weeks Obama's world-wide popularity may give Chicago a supreme advantage in the bidding. Also, there is great confidence that 'President Obama' will join the Chicago bid team for its final pitch to the IOC in Copenhagen in October.

Read the complete text of the Chicago 2016 presentation

Prepared Text of Chicago 2016 Presentation

Anita L. DeFrantz, USOC Board Member and U.S. Member of the International Olympic Committee

Mr. President, honored members of the EOC, dear friends and colleagues:

I grew up in a town south of Chicago.

My physical education teacher was Joanne Terry; she was a teammate of Wilma Rudolph and Wyomia Tyus who won gold medals for the U.S. Olympic Team in Rome.

I saw how the adults respected Miss Terry as an Olympian.

And it was through her example that thinking big became a part of my life.

It is a delight for me to stand here as a member of the Olympic Family and tell you about Chicago.

Chicago is a city in the heart of America where people have learned to think big.

My confidence in Chicago and its ability to inspire our children and your children through the Olympic Games is 100%.

And over the last two years, I have come to believe in and trust the leadership of Mayor Daley and Pat Ryan to lead Chicago to become the Host City.

Pat is a dynamic leader in sport, culture and education.

In partnership with the USOC and City of Chicago, we can deliver the highest quality Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Pat, like all of us, believes that sport can help us build a better world.

It is now my pleasure to introduce to you the Chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, Pat Ryan

Patrick G. Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016

President Hickey, President Rogge, Honorary President Pescante, Members of the E.O.C. Executive Board, Members of the International Olympic Committee, Presidents and Secretaries General of the National Olympic Committees of Europe, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for the honor to present our vision for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

First of all, let me congratulate Togay Bayatli and the Turkish NOC on 100 years of Olympic leadership ? and their great hospitality in Istanbul?

It has been a year since we met in Valencia ? and we have benefited greatly from your counsel ? which is why ?

We are ready to celebrate your wonderful global festival ? in the heart of our city.

Now, let me begin our presentation by answering the question that so many of you have asked: Why Chicago ? and why now?

First, Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in the world ? people from more than 150 countries ? including millions from the European continent -- have immigrated to our city, maintain their cultural traditions ? and live in friendship and harmony.

They're very passionate about bringing the Games to Chicago. The people of our city want to host the Games. It's their passion for sport that brings them together ? that will energize the Games. At the World Boxing Championships last November ? at the Chicago Marathon ? and many events every year such as the 1994 and 1999 FIFA World Cups ? our people form cheering sections for athletes from every country.

Every year, more than 20 million people gather in Chicago's parks for festivals that celebrate our music, food and cultures.

I pledge to you ? that Chicago will deliver a wonderful Games experience ? with full stadiums and arenas. Our museums and cultural institutions, our restaurants and nightlife, and the shopping experience we call the Magnificent Mile ? are literally just steps outside the world-class hotels where you'll stay.

Finally, Chicago is a global business hub -- headquarters of more than 40 multinational companies ? that firmly support the bid.

Why now? ? because the people of Chicago ? and the people of America ? are passionate about building new bridges of friendship to all of you ? and to the world ? through sport.

Video #1, Chicago Surprises

Bill Scherr, Director of Sport, Chicago 2016 and Chairman of World Sport Chicago

Like many in this room today, I have known the thrill of competing in the Olympic Games ? and, now, I am in another competition that is equally inspiring.

As Pat said, our plan is set in the center of our country ? in the vibrant heart of our city ? in and around five Chicago landmark parks ? spanning more than 1,000 hectares of green space ... along our beautiful lakefront.

This plan is so compact that it forms a single Olympic Zone?with 85% of the sports within a mere eight-kilometer area we call the Olympic Ring.

We're putting sport ? and the athlete first. Our Olympic Village is located at the center of the Olympic Ring. This means over 90% of the athletes will live within 15 minutes or less of their competition venues and training sites ? 90% within 15 minutes or less!

It's an exciting plan that we are continuously improving as we listen and learn from you, our colleagues in the Movement.

This plan is sustainable, affordable and very much in line with community needs. It is efficient. Only 27 venues overall. Only five permanent venues to be built.

This plan provides urban and sport legacies that will endure for generations, including an impressive increase in Chicago green spaces after the Games.

But it's not about bricks and buildings. Our real legacy is about people ? we're investing in humanity.

In the past year, World Sport Chicago, our legacy organization, has built a new youth sport program that is successfully reuniting children with sport.

If Chicago hosts the Games, our proven program can become a model for every urban center across America and, perhaps, around the world, bringing youth back to sport?and strengthening the Olympic Movement.

Now, let's take a look at how Olympic dreams are inspiring young people to excel already in Chicago. And then you'll hear from my friend, Bob Ctvrtlik, whom I first met as a teammate at the Seoul Olympics and who serves today as the First Vice President of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Video #2, Chicago Stories

Bob Ctvrtlik, First Vice President of International, USOC

On behalf of the US Olympic Committee ? and the entire U.S. Olympic community ? it is an honor for me to assure you that the US Olympic Committee supports Chicago's bid 100%.

We are full partners in this bid ? working with the City and bid committee ? implementing initiatives like the Olympic Leader Travel Program ? that is already working to provide swift and easy access to you and the entire Olympic Family.

As many of you know, we conducted a year-long domestic bid process that ended with Chicago's victory ? when we found that no other U.S. City could match the kind of Games experience and sport heritage that Chicago offers.

In Chicago, we discovered a city ready to showcase the ideals of the Olympic Movement?the values of sport that unite all of us.

We met an experienced team that represents the best possible partnership ? government commitment and corporate strength.

We found one of the world's strongest mayors in Richard M. Daley. He has been elected six consecutive times and led Chicago through a 20-year renaissance ... in culture, environment and sport.

And he's sharing his experience with leaders from all over the world ? in annual forums with mayors from different regions of the globe.

We also found a truly committed bid leader in Pat Ryan, founder of the largest insurance and reinsurance broker in the world. Pat's leadership extends beyond business:

? to sport ? as an owner of the Chicago Bears

? to culture ? as a patron of the Chicago Symphony

? and to education.

As Chairman of Northwestern University, one of America's finest academic institutions, he is leading the development of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Education Program ? which will offer valuable benefits to your NOCs and your athletes in the seven year period leading up to the Games ? and continue beyond.

But, above all else, what Chicago represents for the United States is a great answer to the question, Why?

Why are we bidding for the Olympic Games?

We're bidding to share this sport loving city with the Olympic Family? to put all of this vibrant city's resources at the service of the Olympic Movement ? and to strengthen the Movement by building a new center of Olympic and Paralympic sport ? in the middle of our country ? a city that 60 million people can reach in a few hours' drive.

And we're bidding?as many of you know?to welcome the world back to the United States with open arms.

And now it is my privilege to introduce Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to talk about the city's commitment to sport and the bid.

Mayor Daley.

Richard M. Daley, Honorary Chairman of Chicago 2016 and Mayor of Chicago

Thank you, Bob.

In urban areas like Chicago and around the world, children face barriers ? economic, social, educational and cultural.

But there is another barrier that is often overlooked in these communities ? the barrier to sport.

And in order to leave a lasting legacy, we want to break down these barriers for children everywhere.

That's why I believe Chicago should host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We are pursuing the Olympic Games to build passion with sport for future generations around the world.

This is about much more than Chicago hosting the Olympic and Paralympics Games.

It's about inspiring young people around the world to participate in sport through the Olympic Movement.

It is about teaching children the values that sport in general can offer ? dedication, fair play, fitness and self-confidence.

You just heard about our model of urban sport development.

Through this successful program we are leading by example and it is already being replicated for other cities.

I have shared our Olympic story with hundreds of Mayors from the United States and together we are forming an Olympic Task Force of Mayors to help carry our vision to inspire change in young people through sport.

Of course there are many other benefits to hosting the Games such as empowering Chicago to advance our environmental leadership agenda and to revitalize a major urban corridor through the development of the Olympic Village and the Olympic Stadium.

But, most importantly, we are here today to inspire more young people and involve them in sport.

We are pursuing that goal with a collaborative spirit ? not only in Chicago ? but in all levels of government across the United States in order to ensure that if we are selected, the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a national priority for our country.

I truly believe that it's this sense of collaboration that will help us achieve our goal.

You may have heard the news ? that a young Senator from Chicago was just elected President of the United States.

Barack Obama and I share a common belief that all children should be given an equal opportunity at life no matter what their background.

We believe that sport for young people should be a national priority.

We believe that by hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games the United States can build bridges of friendship with the world and bring the world to the United States.

We believe in the promise of hope and the power of change.

So, ladies and gentlemen, in that spirit of hope and change, it is now my honor to present to you the first international Olympic message from the President-elect of the United States, Barack Obama.

Video #3, President-Elect Barack Obama

Mr. President, Members of the International Olympic Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen.

While I am unable to be there in person, I want to take this opportunity to speak with you ? because I deeply believe in the Olympic mission .... and have long supported hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in my home city of Chicago.

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.

In the coming years, my administration will bring a fresh perspective on America's role and responsibilities around the world. 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.

The United States would be honored to have the opportunity to host the Games and serve the Olympic Movement.

As president-elect, I see the Olympic 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.

Thank you very much.

Patrick G. Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016

Ladies and gentlemen:

We are proud to have brought you this message today.

With Mayor Daley and President-elect Barack Obama, Chicago 2016 now enjoys a remarkable level of support from our government?an unprecedented partnership for a U.S. Candidate City?from City Hall in Chicago to the White House in Washington, DC.

Mr. President, Chicago surprises. Chicago inspires. Chicago unites. And our city will do everything in its power to help strengthen the Olympic Movement.

Chicago has been preparing to host the Games for generations. We are ready for this moment.

The people of Chicago are eager to lead our nation ? in reaching out in friendship and peace through sport.

This concludes our presentation. Thank you.


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