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In an impassioned final pitch to members of the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen, President Barack Obama made the case Friday for the mid-Western U.S. city of Chicago to host the 2016 summer games.
With just a handful of key votes hanging in the balance, President Obama flew in to Copenhagen overnight to make a final push for the town he has called his home for 25 years. He underlined Chicago's history, its people and its strength through diversity.
"There is nothing I would like more than to step just a few blocks from my family's home, with Michelle and our two girls and welcome the world back into our neighborhood," President Obama said. "At the beginning of this new century, the nation that has been shaped by people from around the world wants a chance to inspire it once more, to ignite the possibility of spirit of possibility at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic movement."
On hand with him was First Lady Michelle, who grew up in a working class neighborhood on Chicago's south side. She recalled her father who, stricken with multiple sclerosis, instilled the values that have guided her through life, including lessons learned from the world of sports.
"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," Mrs. Obama said. "Chicago's vision for the Olympic and Paralymic movement is about so much more than what we can offer the games. It is about what the games can offer all of us. It is about inspiring this generation and building a lasting legacy for the next."
In summing up the bid, President Obama said Chicago would be a proud host city that would not let anyone down.
"To host games that unite us in noble competition and shard celebration of our limitless potential as a people. And so, I urge you to choose Chicago. I urge you to choose America and if you do, if we walk this path together, then I promise you this, the city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud. Thank you so much," the president said.
Delegations from Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid then delivered their final presentations.
Observers predict the outcome may be very close with just two, three of four votes in the end determining the winning city.