White House Olympic event next week

September 10, 2009 6:01:54 AM PDT
The White House plans to put Chicago and the Olympics center stage next week. Speaking to reporters after the Chicago City Council unanimously approved financial guarantees for the Games, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley told reporters the White House will host an "Olympic and Paralympic Day" sometime next week.

With less than a month to go before the International Olympic Committee picks the host city for the 2016 Games, all eyes have been on President Barack Obama. Chicago's bid backers are hoping he will join them for a final lobbying effort just before the vote October 2 in Copenhagen.

On Thursday, a White House spokesperson confirmed Daley's announcement.

"The President and First Lady will be hosting an event with the White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Sport and Chicago 2016 on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 to help promote Chicago's bid for the Olympics, as well as helping promote our commitment to healthy living and youth sport," the spokesperson wrote. "There will be Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes in attendance as well. This event will help highlight the Obama administration's commitment to giving our nation's children every possible tool they need to grow, learn and succeed in life. A key part of this is increasing access to healthy, constructive activities like sports for our nation's children. The Olympic athletes will be visiting local schools in the morning and then joining the President and First Lady at the White House in the afternoon. More details will be released in the coming days."

It's unknown whether the president will use the event as the backdrop to announce he will join the Chicago delegation in Copenhagen and personally lobby IOC members. A spokesperson for Chicago 2016 referred questions about the event back to the White House.

Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst told ABC7 he believes Obama's presence in Copenhagen is crucial to Chicago's Olympic bid.

"I think it's significant if he doesn't show up," Probst said. "The heads of state for the other bid cities will be there so there is an expectation level and we're all hoping he will decide to go."


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