Chicago 2016 issued a press release Wednesday congratulating President-elect Barack Obama on his “historic victory”.
Obama held his election night rally in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park, site of several proposed Olympic venues, where more than 200,000 people gathered to celebrate his victory. Nineteen of the proposed venues would be within approximately 1.5 km of Grant Park, with more than 20,000 hotel rooms within two km of the site, said the press release.
According to the press release Obama has been an ardent supporter of Chicago’s bid from the beginning, and the bid committee is looking forward to working with him to bring the Games to Chicago in 2016.
Bid leader Patrick Ryan said Wednesday, “I think the eyes of the world have been on Barack Obama and therefore on Chicago and the eyes of the world will be on Chicago more than in the past. Last night gave us a global opportunity to show the city’s beautiful skyline, its lake and parks”.
He added that Obama’s stature would help Chicago in its bid to become the first U.S. city in 20 years to host the summer Olympic since Atlanta in 1996. Ryan said, “he has travelled around the world. He is a very highly regarded international global figure. He loves sport and he is very proud of Chicago”.
Ryan said he wants to see Obama attend next year’s IOC session and the 2016 Games vote. “We want him to be present, but depending on his schedule…if things are normal he will be there”.
The press release said Obama has been a supporter of Chicago 2016’s bid since its inception. Following Chicago’s selection last June as a Candidate City by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), President-elect Obama appeared at a celebration in Chicago with Mayor Richard M. Daley, other government leaders, Olympians and Paralympians. At the time he remarked, “bringing the Olympic Games to Chicago will be a capstone of the success we’ve had in the past couple of decades in transforming Chicago into not just a great American city but into a great global city”.
Meanwhile, GamesBids.com released its BidIndex Wednesday which shows that Chicago has dropped from first to third place, with Tokyo first, Rio de Janeiro second, and Madrid in fourth place.