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Chicago—The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games present an exciting opportunity for the United States to showcase American athletic talent, foster meaningful relationships with other nations, and draw thousands of international visitors to U.S. cities, said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Hannemann today joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and other officials to present to the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission the United States’ proposal to host the games. Chicago is competing with Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo; today was the commission’s first stop on a tour that includes the other cities.

            “The Olympics will be great for Chicago and for our nation,” Hannemann said. “Honolulu and other cities stand to benefit tremendously from new opportunities the games will create for the travel and sports industries.”

            For example, athletes competing in the Olympics could visit Honolulu for training in the weeks before and after the games, he said. Other visitors could be invited to stop in Honolulu before they return to their home countries.

            Hannemann emphasized to the commission that the U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly supports Chicago’s Olympics proposal. Hannemann is chairman of the USCM Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee.

Like many major American cities, Honolulu is developing plans to hold Olympic Day sporting events in June with youth, adults and former Olympians to support and raise public awareness about Chicago’s bid. The USCM is also working with sister cities in other nations to urge their support.

Hannemann noted that President Obama has extended his personal support and endorsement of Chicago’s proposal. Hannemann met today with White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, who also made presentations on Chicago’s behalf.

The International Olympic Committee will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 2 to decide which city will host the games.

Holding the Olympics in the U.S. will inspire a new generation of young athletes to become involved in healthy sports activities, Hannemann said. This is also the goal of the Urban Youth Sport Initiative, a model program begun by a group called World Sport Chicago. The program could be replicated in cities across the nation to combat childhood obesity and other problems, he said. 

The USCM will hold its annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island in June. As chairman of the USCM Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee, Hannemann will report on each participating city’s Olympic Day plans, and on the Urban Youth Sport Initiative.

Hannemann also co-chairs, with Mayor Daley, a special USCM public- and private-sector task force working to support Chicago’s Olympic bid.

Hannemann will return to Honolulu tomorrow.


Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 527-6928