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PRESS & MEDIA GALLERY

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MAYOR DALEY, SENATOR BARACK OBAMA JOIN OLYMPIANS TO CELEBRATE CHICAGO BEING NAMED CANDIDATE CITY BY THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
Rally Marks Conclusion of Weeklong Sister Cities International Festival

Mayor Richard M. Daley and Senator Barack Obama joined Olympians, Paralympians, Olympic hopefuls, representatives of Chicago’s Sister Cities, members of Chicago 2016 and other elected officials, today to thank Chicagoans for their strong support for the city’s Olympic bid and asked for the help of all residents of the United States in building excitement for bringing the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games here.

On June 4 in Athens, Greece, the International Olympic Committee named Chicago one of four Candidate Cities still in the running to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The others are Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro.

“We couldn’t have come this far without the strong support of the residents of Chicago, and with their continued help we will keep working hard to bring the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to the United States,” Daley said at a celebration held on Daley Plaza.

“We are so proud, and undoubtedly thrilled, that the International Olympic Committee sees what we have known for some time now - that Chicago is the kind of town that is truly excited and ready for the opportunity to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,"  said Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016. "I am proud to know that so many people are standing behind this great city of Chicago."   

The Mayor said that although the city and its bid move ahead with confidence, there is much work to do between now and October, 2009, when the IOC makes its final decision on the host city.

He said the Olympic and Paralympic Games would attract new visitors from around the world to the United States and Chicago, increase Chicago’s standing as a global city, generate good will and create new businesses and jobs for the hard-working people of the region.

And the Olympic Games in Chicago would leave a legacy that strengthens the Olympic Movement by building passion for sport, culture, education and the environment for future generations around the world, he said.

“We know a big part of our job now is to engage people from all over the country in this effort so they can carry the message of an Olympic Games in the United States with honest enthusiasm. So today, I’m asking you – and all Americans -- to help us.

“Reach out to your friends, to business leaders and civic groups to build excitement and potential participation in the bid. Talk up our region to people who visit Chicago from around the world,” he said.

Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner Kersee said, "This stage of the bid is extremely exciting for anyone who has a passion for the Olympic Games.  I am one of the millions of people in support of Chicago's bid, and I know that having the Games in Chicago would be a great gift for both the city and the Olympic Ganes."

Mayor Daley said the Olympic Games presents the metropolitan area, the Midwest region and the entire country with a unique opportunity not only to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, but also to place ourselves – through the media – in the homes of millions of people all around the world.

It’s a chance for the United States – through the vehicle of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Olympic Movement – to portray itself as it truly is: a place where people from different backgrounds and ethnicities can come together to pursue their dreams, he said.

“In Chicago, we live that ideal every day. We welcome immigrants from other lands, as we have for generations. Out of our diversity comes our city’s great strength. Remember, this is not just Chicago’s bid. It’s not just our region’s bid. It’s our nation’s opportunity to reach out to the world,” he said.

Daley unveiled an updated emblem that represents Chicago’s status as a Candidate City in its efforts to bring the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games here.

The celebration took place during the Sister Cities International Festival and was kicked off by a parade of flags from Chicago’s 27 Sister Cities.

The mayor said that as the city looks forward to the next 15 months leading up to the final decision of the International Olympic Committee, the Sister Cities program and events such as the festival will play an important role in showcasing Chicago’s diversity to the world.

“Today as much as ever, Chicago is a city of immigrants. You would be hard pressed to find any nationality not represented here. And festivals such as this one give us an opportunity to think about and appreciate the differences among nations and cultures.

“That is what Chicago’s Sister Cities program is all about—embracing cultural diversity, he said.

Chicago maintains 27 international Sister City agreements and a very successful “Sister Schools Abroad” Program that involves more than 50 Chicago schools and 15,000 students here and overseas.

“I am very proud of this program and its impact on school children. It represents our commitment to international education to ensure that the young people we are preparing to be the leaders of the tomorrow have an appreciation for foreign lands and cultures,” he said.

The event was also attended by Congressman Rahm Emanuel; Valerie Jarrett, vice chair of Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee and chief executive officer of The Habitat Company; Gery Chico, a member of the 2016 Olympic Committee, president of Chicago Park District Board and senior partner at Chico & Nunes, P.C.; Miles White, vice chair of Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee and chief executive officer of Abbott Laboratories; Jackie Joyner Kersee, Olympian (track and field); 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games; Josh George, Paralympian (Wheelchair Racing; Vallie Syzmanski, executive director, Chicago Sister Cities International Program; Smita Shah, chair of the Delhi Sister Cities Committee and Chicago 2016 committee member; Gene Honda, announcer for the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Blackhawks; the Chicago Consular Corps.; local, state and federal elected officials; mayors and municipal officials from the Chicago region; and faith-based community leaders.



 
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