Olympian Michael Phelps toured Chicago this week to celebrate his recent success and to join Chicago’s effort to land the 2016 Olympic Games.
Last month Phelps won eight gold medals at the Olympic Games in Beijing, adding to the six he won four years ago in Athens and setting an Olympic medal record.
“My success in the pool has afforded me many great opportunities, and the ability to lend support to Chicago 2016 is a privilege that ranks among the top of the list,” said Phelps. “It is truly an honor to be able to represent the United States, and to have the opportunity to do so in our country would be an experience unlike any other.”
On Wednesday Phelps, along with 175 other U.S Olympians, attended a taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” which is scheduled to air Monday. The show was clearly positioned to raise the profile of Chicago and its Olympic bid to an international audience. The program will reportedly be seen in 140 countries and stands a chance of being viewed by key International Olympic Committee decision makers who are scattered around the globe. During the show host Oprah Winfrey and several Olympian guests vocalized their support for the Chicago 2016 bid.
In the evening Phelps took part in a live Web chat hosted on the Chicago 2016 Channel – the bid’s new socially interactive Web site – where he answered questions from fans and the media about his Beijing experience and his support of Chicago 2016.
Phelps spent Thursday afternoon conducting a swim clinic for Chicago-area kids, a program sponsored by World Sport Chicago, a living legacy of Chicago 2016.
“We are honored to welcome Michael to our city as such a great supporter of bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Chicago in 2016,” said Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO Patrick G. Ryan. “Michael embodies the spirit and values of the Games, and his success has inspired Americans of all ages.”
Chicago is competing against Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo for the opportunity to host the Olympic Games in 2016; the final decision will be made by the International Olympic Committee October 2, 2009.