Obama 'disappointed' at losing Olympics

July 22, 2010 10:10:05 AM PDT
President Barack Obama's spokesman says Obama is "disappointed" that Chicago lost out on getting the 20016 Olympics but not sorry he went to Copenhagen to personally appeal for the Games.Voting began just after 10 a.m. Chicago time. The International Olympic Committee members were given electronic voting devices to cast ballots. And, Chicago's bid was the first one eliminated.

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Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama and his wife Michelle flew back to Washington Friday, Robert Gibbs said that Obama "feels obviously proud of his wife for the presentation that she made." Mrs. Obama had gone to Copenhagen ahead of her husband and had lobbied hard for the Summer Games to be brought to her hometown.

Asked if Obama was glad he'd gone there to make a personal pitch for the athletic competition, Gibbs said" Absolutely." He said that the president "would never shy away from traveling anywhere, talking to anyone about this country."

Earlier in the bid process, First lady Michelle Obama had asked the IOC to choose Chicago, to choose America, for the 2016 Summer Games.

"I was born and raised on Chicago's South Side, not far from where the Games would open and close," said first lady Michelle Obama. "Sports were what brought our families together."

Michelle Obama spoke about sitting on her father's lap while cheering on Olympians from her Chicago home. "My dad was my hero, and when I think of what these Games can mean to people all over the world, I think of people like my dad."

Michelle Obama's father had multiple sclerosis. She said had he lived, he would be proud to see the Games in Chicago.

"Chicago's vision for the Olympic and Paralympic movement is about so much more than what we can offer the Games," she said. "It's about what the Games can offer all of us -- it's about inspiring this generation and building a lasting legacy for the next."

The first lady then introduced her husband.

"America is ready and eager to assume that sacred trust," said President Barack Obama. "I've come here to urge you to choose Chicago for the same reason I chose Chicago 25 years ago."

President Obama spoke about how he moved around a lot as a child.

"I came to discover that Chicago is that most American of American cities. Each one of those neighborhoods had its own unique character, song, language. And each is part of our city, one city, the city where I finally found a home."

"I urge you to choose Chicago. I urge you to choose America," said President Obama. "And if you do -- if we walk this path together -- then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud."

Chicago was the first city to present to the IOC. It began with a video and the song, "Sweet Home Chicago."

An IOC member introduced Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who addressed the IOC.

"I pledge to you today that Chicago will deliver," said Mayor Daley.

Mayor Daley was followed by Chicago 2016's Chairman Patrick Ryan.

"We want you to know that for the next seven years we will focus on being your committed partner," said Ryan. "I humbly submit Chicago would be the right partner, right now."

He called Chicago a clean, safe city where the entire family would have fun.

Linda Mastandrea, Paralympian, and Bryan Clay, Olympian, then spoke about the Games plan, including the Olympic Village and accommodations for families and friends.

"Our plan is fully sustainable, building only what is needed, restoring the parks," said Mastandrea.

The architect of the plan, Doug Arnot, a VP for Chicago 2016, addressed the group in both English and French.

"Our goal was to build venues that support both elite sport and youth sport," said Arnot, who spoke about how the buildings would be used after the Olympics had moved on. "Hope and opportunity for youth will be our greatest legacy."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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