Obamas Petition for 2016 Olympics in Chicago

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Next month the International Olympic Committee will announce the city that will play host to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
President and Mrs. Obama have a major stake in the outcome and so Wednesday afternoon, they invited a few Olympic and para-Olympic athletes to the White House to try and influence the Olympic judges.

"The South Lawn was briefly turned into a kind of sports arena this afternoon," Mrs. Obama said.

The president, with his jacket off, even got a chance to referee a friendly fencing match.

Wednesday's show and tell at the White House was all about trying to lure the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to America and, more specifically to the president's hometown of Chicago.

"Chicago is ready," Obama said. "The American people are ready.We want these games, we want them."

In 16 days, the International Olympic Committee will meet in Denmark to decide which world city plays host to the international games. 

The president said he would love to go and personally make the case to the Olympic committee, but other more pressing national issues, like health care, are keeping him home.

"But the good news is am I sending a more compelling super star to represent the city and country we love and that is our First Lady Michelle Obama," the president said.

The First Lady said she was deeply honored to make the case for the Windy City.

"I know Barack and I would feel such tremendous pride to see the Olympic torch burning brightly in the city we love so much," Mrs. Obama said.

Chicago is in a tight contest with Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo to host the event.

But as the race heads into the final days, there are lingering concerns about Chicago's ability to move millions of spectators and athletes during the Games.

A report earlier this month by the IOC questioned whether the city's aging mass transit system could handle millions of extra visitors without causing significant congestion.

The city has threatened to shut down traffic during the Olympic Games so athletes and visitors could be shuttled around without much hassle.

People in Chicago are holding out against all hope that President Obama can make it to Denmark next month for the city's Olympic bid.
The mayor of Chicago said Wednesday that there was still a "glimmer of hope" he could make the final pitch.

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