Obama pitches for 2016 Chicago Olympics

LONDON - US President Barack Obama has written to International Olympic Committee members promising that the United States would "welcome the world with open arms" if Chicago is awarded the 2016 Summer Games.

LONDON - US President Barack Obama has written to International Olympic Committee members promising that the United States would "welcome the world with open arms" if Chicago is awarded the 2016 Summer Games.

"Chicago is designed to host global celebrations and it will deliver a spectacular Olympic experience for one and all," Obama said in a letter to IOC members.

The 338-word typed form letter, dated September 10, is addressed to individual members and bears the signature of the US president. It raises the possibility of Obama going to Copenhagen to push the Chicago bid at the October 2 vote.

Chicago - which seeks to host the Summer Olympics for the first time since 1996 - is in a tight contest with Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Madrid.

"I deeply appreciate the tremendous work of the Olympic movement and wish to convey my strong support for Chicago 2106," Obama said in the letter, citing the "transformative power" of the Olympics to unite people. Obama, who calls Chicago home, said he has supported the city's Olympic bid since 2006.

"As president, I see the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an extraordinary opportunity for America to renew our bonds of friendship and welcome the world to our shores with open arms. If you honour Chicago with your selection, we will ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are a key priority for our nation." Obama said he had already established a White House office of Olympic and youth sport. - Sapa-AP

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