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Obama tells Olympic panel what Chicago means to him. "A city where I finally found a home."


President Obama and First Lady Michelle each told their personal Chicago stories to the International Olympic Committee on Friday in a quest to win the 2016 Olympic games for the city. Obama spoke about his adopted city and Mrs. Obama talked as a native South Sider.

Both Obama's used their biographies to woo votes from the I06-member IOC, voting later Friday between Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

"I was born and raised on Chicago's South Side, not far from where the Games
would open and close," said Mrs. Obama, speaking before her husband.

"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

America's First Couple closed Chicago's final presentation, which featured several videos, including an opener with a blues musical backdrop, "Sweet Home Chicago."

Obama assured the IOC that Chicago's diverse neighborhoods means that every player will in a sense have somebody from home--to cheer for them. Obama talked about Chicago's neighborhoods--highlighting some of the city's most diverse communities.

Said Obama, "You see, growing up, my family moved around a lot. And I never really had roots in any one place or culture or ethnic group. Then I came to Chicago. And on
those Chicago streets, I worked alongside men and women who were black and white; Latino and Asian; people of every class and nationality and religion. I came to discover that Chicago is that most American of American cities, but one where citizens from more than 130 nations inhabit a rich tapestry of distinctive neighborhoods.

"Each one of those neighborhoods - from Greektown to the Ukrainian Village; from Devon to Pilsen to Washington Park - has its own unique character, history, song, and sometimes language. But each is also a part of our city - one city - a city where I finally found a home.

"Chicago is a place where we strive to celebrate what makes us different just as we celebrate what we have in common. It's a place where our unity is on colorful display at so many festivals, parades, and especially sporting events,
where perfect strangers become fast friends at the sight of the same jersey.

"It's a city that works - from its first World's Fair more than a century ago to the World Cup we hosted in the nineties, we know how to put on big events. And
scores of visitors and spectators will tell you that we do it well.

"Chicago is a city where the practical and the inspirational exist in harmony; where visionaries who made no small plans rebuilt after a great fire and taught
the world to reach new heights. It's a bustling metropolis with the warmth of a small town; where the world already comes together every day to live and work and reach for a dream - a dream that no matter who we are or where we're from; no matter what we look like or what hand life has dealt us, with hard work, and discipline, and dedication, we can make it if we try.


I've lived in this region all of my life, and I would trade this for a home in Hawaii in a heartbeat. Who is Obama trying to kid? Transparency is obvious. Maybe the IOC recognized it, also.

his home is anywhere he can 'get over'...and for a few lucky years he managed to bamboozle his way to a st. senate seat, a u.s. senate seat, and the presidency. history will tag this a comedy of the broader course of events he and his posse are insignificant.

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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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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 2, 2009 3:22 AM.

Obama's remarks to the International Olympic Committee. Transcript was the previous entry in this blog.

Michelle Obama's pitch to the International Olympics Committee. Transcript is the next entry in this blog.

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