Obama whips up enthusiasm for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid

Barack Obama was a surprise guest Friday at a rally celebrating Chicago's selection among four finalists for the 2016 Olympic Games.
But city organizers realize they still have a lot of work to do if they want to bring the games here. An assessment by the International Olympic Committee identified problems with finances, transportation and other matters in Chicago's bid.
Organizers expressed confidence they will be able to address the issues the IOC raised. Olympic officials questioned the money listed for highway and transit projects; said budgets appeared "low and may warrant review" for sports venue construction, and wanted more detail about the plans for transportation between venues.
"We'll certainly be able to provide them the level of detail where they'll be as comfortable with our plan as we are," said Chicago 2016 organizing committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
The focus Friday, though, was on celebrating Chicago's latest victory in its quest for the games. The IOC reduced the bidders from seven to four earlier this week, selecting Tokyo, Madrid, Spain, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as the other finalists.
If Obama is elected president, he could be a major asset for the bid by his home town. On Friday, he predicted both he and the city would be victorious.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee boasted he would be winding up his second term as president when Chicago opens the 2016 Games at a new Olympic Stadium in Washington Park on the South Side, just blocks from his home.
"So I can't think of a better way than to be marching into Washington Park ... as president of the United States and announcing to the world, 'Let the games begin,'" he said to thundering applause from a lunchtime crowd gathered in a downtown plaza.
Chicago hasn't been shy about relying on Obama's high-profile support to pump up its bid. A videotaped message from Obama greeted a U.S. Olympic Committee evaluation team when they came to the city last year, and Obama attended a rally in the same downtown plaza when Chicago was picked to be the U.S. bid city for the games.
The IOC has said presidents and other leaders from the four bid cities are welcome to attend when the IOC votes to pick a host city at its 2009 meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"Bringing the Olympics to Chicago will be a capstone of the success that we've had over the last couple of decades in transforming Chicago to become not just a great American city but a great world city," Obama said.

Updated : 2021-04-12 12:48 GMT+08:00