Chicago Sun-Times
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Michelle Obama's pitch to the International Olympics Committee. Transcript



Office of the First Lady

___________________________________________________________For Immediate Release
October 2, 2009



Bella Center

Copenhagen, Denmark

9:21 A.M. CEST

MRS. OBAMA: President Rogge, ladies and gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs of the
International Olympic Committee: I am honored to be here.

I was born and raised on Chicago's South Side, not far from where the Games
would open and close. Ours was a neighborhood of working families -- families
with modest homes and strong values.

Sports were what brought our community together. They strengthen our ties to
one another.

Growing up, when I played games with the kids in my neighborhood, we picked
sides based not on who you were, but what you could bring to the game. Sports
taught me self-confidence, teamwork, and how to compete as an equal.

Sports were a gift I shared with my dad -- especially the Olympic Games.

Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad's lap, cheering on Olga and
Nadia, Carl Lewis, and others for their brilliance and perfection. Like so many
young people, I was inspired. I found myself dreaming that maybe, just maybe,
if I worked hard enough, I, too, could achieve something great.

But I never dreamed that the Olympic flame might one day light up lives in my

But today, I can dream, and I am dreaming of an Olympic and Paralympic Games in
Chicago that will light up lives in neighborhoods all across America and all
across the world; that will expose all our neighborhoods to new sports and new
role models; that will show every child that regardless of wealth, or gender, or
race, or physical ability, there is a sport and a place for them, too.

That's why I'm here today. I'm asking you to choose Chicago. I'm asking you to
choose America.

And I'm not asking just as the First Lady of the United States, who is eager to
welcome the world to our shores. And not just as a Chicagoan, who is proud and
excited to show the world what my city can do. Not just as a mother raising two
beautiful young women to embrace athleticism and pursue their full potential.

I'm also asking as a daughter.

See, my dad would have been so proud to witness these Games in Chicago. And I
know they would have meant something much more to him, too.

You see, in my dad's early thirties, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
And as he got sicker, it became harder for him to walk, let alone play his
favorite sports. But my dad was determined that sports continue to be a vital
lifeline -- not just to the rest of the world, but to me and my brother.

And even as we watched my dad struggle to hold himself up on crutches, he never
stopped playing with us. And he refused to let us take our abilities for
granted. He believed that his little girl should be taught no less than his
son. So he taught me how to throw a ball and a mean right hook better than any
boy in my neighborhood. But more importantly, my dad taught us the fundamental
rules of the game, rules that continue to guide our lives today: to engage with
honor, with dignity, and fair play.

My dad was my hero.

And when I think of what these Games can mean to people all over the world, I
think about people like my dad. People who face seemingly insurmountable
challenges, but never let go. They work a little harder, but they never give

Now, my dad didn't live to see the day that the Paralympic Games would become
the force that they are today. But if he had lived to see this day -- if he
could have seen the Paralympic Games share a global stage with the Olympic
Games, if he could have witnessed athletes who compete and excel and prove that
nothing is more powerful than the human spirit, I know it would have restored in
him the same sense of unbridled possibility that he instilled in me.

Chicago's vision for the Olympic and Paralympic Movement is about so more than
what we can offer the Games -- 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. It's about our responsibility as Americans not just to put on great
Games, but to use these Games as a vehicle to bring us together; to usher in a
new era of international engagement; and to give us hope; and to change lives
all over the world.

And I've brought somebody with me today who knows a little something about
change. My husband, the President of the United States -- Barack Obama.

END 9:27 A.M. CEST


Very sincere speech and a real boost for the City. However, Michelle needs to relax more at the podium and let her sistership shine through.

I saw the first part of the presentation. It was awful! I couldn't stand it so I turned the channel. It was so amateurish. What a wasted trip. If you're going to do something, do it right. Like the health care bill. LMAO!

I agree that the speech for very nice and sincere. However, from a non-american viewpoint, the speech really showed the lack of Olympic tradition in the U.S.

So happy for the international community, rejected the rock star mentality of the Obama Administration, in this instance.
Arrogance, and narcissism, have been at the mike for all of the beginnings, .........
Chicago has promoted itself and lost, and the leader did not carry the ball. He has so many things to think about, in this land, so many serious issues, and not just spin,
God help us all. Afghanistan, Health Care, unemployment, bank closures, corruption, and the biggest car industry disaster, lets get real.... first is the jobs, then the economy will make a slow rise, but he is a rock star , and they love the light.

She was 20 when Carl Lewis was in the olympics. Why is she sitting on her father's lap. Real Sincere.

Once again, it was all about Obama - forget the US or Chicago.

My dad...
My election night party...
My dream...
My husband, the President...
My sacrifices...
I'm here...
I can dream...


she was 20 years old when carl lews was in olympics, she sat on her daddys lap at 20 years more obama lies

Michelle says that she was sitting on her father's lap when she watched
Carl Lewis run. Wouldn't that have made her 20 years old? Is that normal?

No wonder they eliminated Chicago in the first round. I am surprised that they did not stand up and say "forget it" right after this speech.

Could the speech have been any more self-centered? I, me, my throughout the whole thing. Perhaps the IOC wished to simply send a message that the world does not revolve around the Obamas.

Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad's lap, cheering on Olga and
Nadia, Carl Lewis, and others for their brilliance and perfection. What, she sit on his lap at age 20 in the 1984 Olympics?

I, I, me, me. It's all about her and her family. No wonder we came in last. (I=18x, me=4 times).

This is the speech she gave to the IOC?! And CNN had the nerve to say she "struck gold" and "wowed them" with this speech? What does her Dad have to do with the Olympics?! This speech was pathetic!

What a lame speech. It is so embarasing to even read it. No wonder we were disqualified in the first round and rightly so.

The pair are nothing less than a handicap to our country and to the world. It's all about them, the Mr and Mrs of the Media. How they ever ever got into this 'game' is simply beyond me. It's regretable.

It looks like the world is beginning to see through the "Obama hype". It also looks like there will be a speech writer that loses his/her job, OR we need to investigate WHY Michelle was sitting on the lap of her father when she was 20 years old!! C'mon... She couldn't sell a box of cookies, let alone try to sell Chicago to the IOC. What a fake and a fraud she (and her husband) is.

Now let's talk about the price that the American taxpayers paid to haul both Mr. and Mrs. Obama (SEPERATELY) to Copenhagen for this losing bid. Is there any reason in the world that they couldn't have traveled TOGETHER?? In a time when they preach about "climate change" (aka: global warming), "green house gasses", "carbon footprint", and all the rest of the "waste" that they are blaming on the rest of America and the world... who are they kidding? They are too good to practice what they preach?? Hmm... they are scamming all of us right before our own eyes. Shameful!

The speech was was one clearly drafted by the president himself...stressing on the fabled, emotion-filled Obama-story... "My dad...My dream...My husband, the President...My sacrifices...I can dream... I'm here..."

This things win elections in 2008...not so anymore.
It is high time president Obama and his advisers woke up to the fact that we are tired of hearing various versions and perspectives of this same-themed Obama-story. Next time will it be a speech by Malia Obama recalling when she sat on her very busy father's laps in the Oval Office???

The IOC was clearly unmoved, unimpressed...and reminded Americans of how USD1.2million of American taxes was wasted to not to promote Chicago's bid, but to sell Obama & Obama Motivational Speakers Inc...

Michelle, Michelle, Michelle, the sooner you and your husband get off of your own soap boxes and really begin to be more about this great country of ours (for a limited time I am afraid), instead of the "me, me, me" mentality that you and Barack both seem to have an over abundance of, this country and yourselves will be far better off!

Well sometimes you have to at least try.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 2, 2009 3:49 AM.

Obama tells Olympic panel what Chicago means to him. "A city where I finally found a home." was the previous entry in this blog.

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