First Lady Heads Push for Chicago as Site of 2016 Olympics

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First Lady Michelle Obama will lead the U.S. delegation trying to secure the 2016 Olympic/Paralympics Games for Chicago, the White House announced today.  The announcement was made in a South Lawn ceremony hosted by President Barack Obama and the first lady that drew Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, representatives from Chicago2016, United States Olympians and Paralympians, and school children from local D.C. area schools.

"We want these Games.  And if you choose Chicago, I promise you this:  Chicago will make America proud, and America will make the world proud," President Obama said.

The host city for the 2016 games will be chosen by the International Olympic Committee at a meeting in Copenhagen on Oct.2 and Michelle Obama and senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett will appear on behalf of Chicago. The bid to make Chicago the host city has received more than million signatures of support and is backed by back both houses of Congress, and the Chicago City Council.

At today's event the Obamas pushed the importance of youth remaining active and participating in sports, but they also were clearly excited at the prospect of their home town of Chicago being the host city for the 2016 games. President Obama emphasized the effect that the Olympic/Paralympics events have on the world and the spirit, dreams, and lifestyles they evoke.  "The Olympic/Paralympics games, they hold a special place in our psyche. They lift us up. They bind us together," Obama said.

Obama recently announced the creation of the first ever Office of Paralympics and Olympic Youth Sports in the White House to be headed by Jarrett. He said the office is working with federal agencies to support and promote the Olympic/Paralympics games and the spirit of the games.

Today's event included demonstrations by Olympians Tim Morehouse, Dominique Dawes and Ryan Reiser, and they then helped school children from Sousa Middle School in the District of Columbia and Lake Ridge Middle School in Woodbridge, Va., to try the various sports.