Secretary General, AIPS
COPENHAGEN, October 2, 2009 – It was clearly evident that US President Barack Obama and his First Lady Michelle were happy to be reunited in Copenhagen.
The most high profile couple in the world led Chicago 2016’s team in this morning’s 90-minute presentation to IOC members and did not hide the fact they are very much in love and obviously missed each other this week while Mrs Obama did her very best solo act in a carefully crafted campaign to bring the Games to her home city by wooing as many IOC members as she could.
Mrs Obama spoke before her husband and gave a passionate account of her father encouraging her to throw punches harder than the boys and described their shared love of the Olympics when she was a child.
"Chicago's vision for the Olympic and Paralympic movement is about so much more than what we can offer the games," she said. "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."
The President urged IOC members to choose Chicago. "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," he said.
“I come here today as a passionate supporter of the Olympic and Paralympic Games - as a strong believer in the movement they represent and as a proud Chicagoan but, above all, as a faithful representative of the American people.
“We look forward to welcoming the world to the shores of Lake Michigan in 2016. To host athletes and visitors from every corner of the globe is a high honour and America is ready once again to assume that sacred trust. This is a nation which has always opened its arms to citizens of world, including my own father from the African continent," the President implored.
Tokyo’s presentation centred on an environmentally friendly games and a youth-focused legacy. The spotlight on youth was evident by the choice of 15-year-old gymnast Resa Mishina who very eloquently opened the presentation in flawless English.
“When we talk about the future, we all agree that it's pretty scary. Lots of things worry us. Like climate change and the environment. And issues of right and wrong, like the way society excludes some people, or the unfairness of doping in sport. So our worries are very much like yours. Which is why I'm here. If things continue as they are, I worry that there won't be many people who want to play sport. There may not even be many places left to play sport.
“That's why your decision on staging the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games is so important. Please choose a city that addresses the concerns of young people like me. A city that demonstrates a commitment to our future. And a city that shares your commitment to sport and the future of the Olympic Movement. For 2016 and beyond,” the young gymnast appealed.
Led by newly-elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama who was quick to point out his wife was also there, the Tokyo bid offered “the best technical Games in Olympic and Paralympic history” and appealed to the IOC to choose a Games that will go beyond economic success or regional development, rather focus on a future for the world’s youth.
The Prime Minister noted the Olympic Movement’s role in “building bridges between diverse civilisations" and pledged his support for the games highlighting Tokyo’s public safety record and environmental sustainability.
“In Tokyo everyone will witness human endeavor thriving in harmony with nature. We might call it ‘fraternity between man and nature’ and I believe it will guide us forward. In hosting the 2016 Games, Tokyo will show the world how a major metropolis can flourish without detriment to the environment.”
Prime Minister Hatoyama also reaffirmed the national government’s full guarantees for the Tokyo 2016 Games. This was echoed by Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016 who reminded the IOC of Tokyo 2016’s “total financial security”, citing the national and Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s (TMG) full guarantees for the Tokyo 2016 Games, including a US$4 billion Hosting Reserve Fund that has already been secured by TMG to fully cover the cost of venue development.
Former FIFA President João Havelange opened up Rio’s presentation by inviting the world to come to his 100th birthday party in Rio in 2016.
The two-time Olympian (Berlin and Helsinki) told IOC members “I have seen the unique power the games have to change the lives of people and to change history. I have witnessed dramatic change in every aspect and now I have a dream of seeing history made with the first Games in South America.”
Bid leader, another former athlete Carlos Nuzman followed by reciting one by one the number of Olympic Games held on continents other than South America. “Now we want to bring the games to South America for the first time and open the door to a new continent.”
Governor of Rio Sergio Cabral told the IOC that according to Forbes Magazine Rio de Janeiro was the happiest city in the world. The governor made no bones about the security issue that has haunted the bid saying: “I can tell you change is happening - and happening as a result of sport. In 2007, as part of the Panamerican Games, our security services acquired a new model of command and we saw no incidents, large or small.” He even introduced a young female police captain as the face of security in Rio.
Governor of the Central Bank of Brazil Henrique Meirelles outlined the strength of the Brazilian economy. “Since we were in Lausanne in June Brazil has demonstrated continued positive results with a growth of almost 8% in second quarter and low unemployment,”Meirelles said. “Economic strength underpins long term games and the $240 billion fund is already being spent supporting capital programmes. It is a complete partnership of all three levels of government with a completely transparent and totally guarantted budget,” he concluded.
President Lula asked the IOC to choose Rio. Speaking in Portuguese he said: “This country has earned its place we want to open our doors for humankind to enjoy the games in Rio. We ask for your support and vision. Rio is ready. Give us this chance and you will not regret it. Be sure the Games we will deliver in Rio will be unforgettable, full of the passion, energy and creativity of the Brazilian people.”
It was a family affair when the final bid city Madrid 2016 made their presentation. Father and son duo former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch Snr and son Juan Antonia Samaranch Jnr and former hockey gold medallist and Madrid 2016 CEO and her 12 year old daughter Monica Figar brought family values to the table.
They were joined by King Juan Carlos who said his family was very involved in the Olympics with one daughter an honorary member of the Spanish Paralympic Committee and a number of his grandchildren already registered as volunteers for 2016.
Government officials pushing for Madrid were Prime Minister Jose Luiz Zapatero, Regional Governor Esperanza Aguirre, Sports Minister Jaime Lissavetzky and Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon. They were joined by athletes Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez, and Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales.
Samaranch Snr asked the IOC to award the Games to Madrid.
“I am near the end of my time – 89 years old,” he said.
“My age has allowed me to live many exciting and enduring moments and I ask my IOC colleagues to share the Olympics with Spain.”
He also took the opportunity to publicly praise IOC President Jacques Rogge for his leadership, saying the IOC was stronger than ever.