U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM MEDIA SUMMIT: Quotes from Chicago 2016 Press Conference Tuesday, April 15

April 16, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

Press Conference Quotes Tuesday, April 15 3:40-4:40 p.m. Chicago 2016 Participants: Mayor Richard M. Daley (RD) Patrick Ryan, Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO (PR) Bob Ctvrtlik, USOC Vice President, International (BC) Doug Arnot, Chicago 2016 (DA) Michael Conley, Chicago 2016 (MC) Linda Mastandrea, Chicago 2016 (LM) Quotes: Mayor Richard Daley Welcome all of you to our wonderful city. Many have traveled from great distances and I hope your time here helps you appreciate the city and why Chicago is a reflection of the world. I want to thank you for giving us time to tell you about Chicago's plan to bring the Olympics and Paralympic Games back to the United States in 2016. The Olympics presents our city and nation not only with the opportunity to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, but also to portray itself as it truly is, a nation with people from different backgrounds that get together, live together, work together and pursue their dreams. We believe we can host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and thank you for the time to explain this The Olympics presents our city and nation with the opportunity to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors and to place ourselves throughout the media and in millions of homes around the world. It is a chance for the United States to portray itself as a nation where people from different backgrounds and origins get together, live together, and work together to pursue their dreams. We know our job is to create an open and public relationship and to be responsive to your requests. We have the leadership and staff in place for the operation to happen exactly that way. The Olympic Games will attract new visitors, generate goodwill, create jobs in the city and region and give us the opportunity to invest in improving our neighborhoods and quality of life. The Olympic Games will leave a legacy that strengthens the Olympic Movement and build passion for sport culture, education and the environment for future generations around the world. The Chicago's plan is one of the most compact Olympic Games ever proposed. The site of the Olympic Village is in the center of the city, surrounded by 19 sports venues and 91 percent of athletes would be within 15 minutes of the competition venues. We want to create an extraordinary experience and inspire young people through sport. We plan to ignite the Olympic Movement throughout the United States, promote harmony throughout the world, and of course transform Chicago into an urban landscape. Let me summarize five reasons why Chicago is the ideal site for 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. First is our location-something we take for granted. There are few cities that are more accessible; the Olympic Games in the United States would attract visitors from all over North America. Every major North American destination is within a four hour flight from Chicago. Once visitors are here, they will find every location in the city is accessible, and our public transportation system is the second largest in the United States. The second reason why Chicago is a great location for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is that it is an international, global city. Chicago is ranked one of the world's top economic centers based on the depth of services that it provides its residents with good quality and economic strength. A visitor from almost anywhere around the country and the world will feel right at home in Chicago. There are 26 ethnic groups in the city with at least 25,000 members in each. More than 100 languages are spoken in Chicago_ We answer emergency calls in 27 of them. Residents don't have to travel abroad to experience culture. The third reason why it's powerful and it's the right place is our ability to handle large numbers of visitors; in fact, very few cities are better equipped for crowds. Chicago attracted over 44 million in '06 and has over 100,000 hotel rooms with 30,000 in the business district, with another 4,000 coming in the next few years. With the opening of the new McCormick place we offer over 2.7 million square feet. It is a major venue of our bid. Almost every weekend we routinely handle large crowds including festivals. We hosted World Series, World Cup and political conventions. The fourth thing in our favor is the great natural beauty of our city. This surprises many people. They think this is still the Chicago of Carl Sandberg and Upton Sinclair-the skyline, the lake, the architecture, and the beauty of Chicago neighborhoods, and our efforts to make this the most environmentally friendly city of the world. The fifth point is that Chicago loves our athletics. But Chicago is not just all about professional sports. This is where the Special Olympics originated, and we promote amateur sport and international competition with World Sport Chicago. Last year with World Sport Chicago, we hosted the World Boxing Championships, and brought hundreds of boxers and over 100 national federations to our city. We know this is not just Chicago's bid or region's bid, it's the United States' opportunity to reach out to the world. I believe deeply in Olympic spirit; that people can come together to pursue their own dreams. In Chicago we live that ideal everyday. We welcome immigrants from other lands as we have for generations. Out of our diversity comes our city's greatest strength. I believe Chicago represents hope and opportunity for people around the world. That is why I believe we will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016. Patrick Ryan I add my welcome to you to Chicago and as I said the other night I hope you can move around and enjoy our great city. The bid process has already enhanced greatly the international reputation of Chicago. As you know members of the press have seen a lot through Chicago. And through this process we have had an opportunity to dream big again. Chicago has always been a city that dreams big. And it has helped energize thousands of people with a new dream of sport. This is important for our bid process because we want to introduce amateur and Olympic sports in schools and give the youth of our city, as a legacy of our bid, the opportunity to learn about Olympic values and principles and also to get involved in Olympic sport. We have two outstanding partners: The USOC and Bob Ctvrtlik, who are wonderful partners and also the fantastic partnership with Mayor Daley. The Mayor has asked for 3 things and they are easy to deliver. First, he said, 'I would like to see diverse committee and support,' which we have. Secondly, if we win, we will host the Olympic and also the Paralympic Games 10 days later. The Mayor has been a leader around the world to make Chicago the most accessible urban center for people with disabilities. It's clearly very important as we will host the Paralympics. And third, make sure to have an environmentally sound plan and that it be the greenest and that we're very committed to sustainability. That's easy also because around the city you see green trees and commitment to clean environment and water. Of course, that's critical in winning, so the three requests the Mayor made are also fundamental to being prepared to win. We've also had the opportunity to be welcomed by the Olympic family worldwide, and we are hopeful that after June 4, we'll make it to the next stage in this shortlist. When we won the domestic bid, we believe it was because of the passion of the citizens of Chicago. We believe that is our greatest asset in the international competition. The Mayor mentioned the World Boxing Championships last fall. You could see the passion of our people every night. You also saw the great diversity of our city as ethnic groups came out to support people from their native country. It's showed the great diversity of Chicago and the passion for sport. We're basing our bid on our people and on the experience that the Olympians will have while they are here, because we're putting the athletes first. As you look at the bid it puts the athletes in the heart of our city. We are the most compact Games and will deliver a high level of convenience, a spectacular experience for the athletes. The Olympic Village is the centerpiece of that plan. More than 90 percent of the athletes will be living within 15 minutes of their event venue. All of the athletes will live there. The Games are athlete-centric and everything we plan is based on ensuring they have the oppornity to perform at their highest level. The plan features four clusters all within 15 kilometers of each other. The central has 19 sports. The Olympic Stadium will be built in Washington Park, a historic area of our city. Jesse Owens is buried near there. The Olympic stadium is about 10 minutes from the Village, and it'll leave an appropriate legacy both for community and for athletics. The plan fits right in the city in the heart of downtown, where it'll be integrated with cultural institutions. The museum campus, sports and culture, the shopping, there are great bars, restaurants, entertainment, hotels, all there for the athletes to enjoy and the Olympic family and all of our guests. So, within walking distance, easy access to the best parts of our city. And if we're lucky enough to win we believe it'll be a historical experience for all who come. Our plans showcase the city's greatest asset and the greatest assets are the people of Chicago. We've been all over and as we've talked to IOC members, they give four bits of advice. One, is work, work, work, don't stop. Two: don't assume anything. Three: stay humble, and four: keep the enthusiasm of the people of Chicago high, which is one of the greatest strengths of winning the domestic bid. We want to go where the people want us. We conducted a recent poll with the same questions from a year ago, and it shows a significantly growing enthusiasm. We had great numbers a year ago; 76 percent a year ago of residents in Chicago that wanted the Games in Chicago has gone to 84 percent and only 6 percent who strongly opposed the Games has remained there. That 6 percent is against about anything. Also two metrics that shows support is the significant percentage of those respondents who said they'd volunteer to help us, and would lend support to our efforts. This is a unified bid with great enthusiasm from our people, and that's a message we communicate every chance we get. Now you'll hear from Conley and Mastandrea who talk about how important a unified bid is and what it means for guests, Olympians and Paralympians. Michael Conley The Games are a pinnacle of an athlete's career, their moment in time to compete on the world's greatest stage. Jesse Owens said it takes a lifetime of training for 10 seconds of glory. I found this out the hard way and was picked to win and I didn't. I finally won in Barcelona which was only four seconds of glory. Thousands of athletes will have dedicated their lives to one moment in 2016, and I think the city needs to match that determination and dedication. Chicago has. How' From the time the athletes arrive on their plan and to the Village, they will feel the excitement. Our Village is close to the venues and transportation will help families navigate around the city. Compact is the athletes, their Village, venues, all in the heart of the city, on a beautiful lakefront. What separates Chicago is the Chicagoans and its diversity. Athletes from all over will have built in cheering sections, as seen at the World Boxing Championships last year. I know I am biased from growing up here but that also makes me an expert. I believe in Chicago and soon the world will. Thank you. Linda Mastandrea As an athlete, Paralympics champion and resident of Chicago, I am pleased to be a part of this bid. The city has had a long time commitment to accessibility thanks to Mayor Daley. It has been his mission to make Chicago the most accessible city in the nation and I think we're well on our way. Our building code was one the first in the nation to incorporate national and international standards. Our curb cuts are being cut citywide, all buses are accessible, and soon, so will El (mass transit) stations become accessible. Chicago has a history as a leader in making the city welcoming to people with disabilities. Millennium Park is a prime example of this, with universal design to allow people with and without disabilities to enjoy our wonderful green space side-by-side. Our beach fronts now have mats for wheelchair users and families with strollers to enjoy the beach front again, side by side. Chicago is home to a vibrant disability advocacy and athletics, and is one of the leaders for those in rehab facilities. It is home to the Schwab Rehabilitation Center, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports in the suburbs and a huge network of recreational associations working together to provide opportunities to people in the Chicago area. The Chicago sporting community has also done a great job. The Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and Sox, and even the Sky have all in some way sponsored this part of the city. The leadership of our city and support of social equality it is reflected in the commitment of Chicago 2016. From the beginning, Chicago 2016 has been fully committed to provide a spectacular experience for the athletes and Paralympians alike. We view them as one of part of the same festival. When the Paralympians arrive, they will move into the same Village and will compete in the same venues, and they will enjoy the same hospitality. The Village will provide accessibility and accessible housing afterwards. Paralympians around the world will see the same great Chicago because we've designed it that way. They will make sure everyone can work and play together and take advantage of sport and recreation together, and Chicago 2016 will ensure the same level of commitment to ensure they come together in 2016. Our goal is to welcome with open arms all athletes, and to provide them with the best Games experience in the best city in the world. Bob Ctvrtlik Mr. Mayor, members of the media, hopefully what you hear today about the Olympics, we'll have a chance to meet again in Beijing. Why did the USOC choose Chicago and strength of partnership' When they chose me to lead a one year evaluation, we met and decided we weren't going to put a bid forward unless we have a city that is right and that can win. We started with 12 cities, then whittled it down to five, and then two and then just Chicago. We were committed to a process, to be the best prepared city in the history of the U.S. and to have the strongest partnership ever between a national Olympic committee, a city, city government and the bid city. We feel we have fulfilled both promises and want to talk about the reasons we chose Chicago. Mayor Daley and Pat Ryan have been excellent partners and lead an excellent team. Whether developing venue plans or projects in the city, they have proven not only that they'll listen, but that they and their team have the strength to get the work done. The first reason we chose Chicago is ability. The best tangible example was the AIBA World Boxing Championships. This is an event that takes two or three years to organize, and led by Doug Arnot, they had six months to prepare, which welcomed 1,100 guests with participants from over 112 countries. And after, Dr. Ching Kuo Wu deemed the World Championships the best ever in the history of boxing. Second is the setting, with beautiful waterfront and other amenities, I won't talk about museums, set in the center of city, but Olympic park. The last three Olympic cities have gone to enormous expense to build a park and the next two will as well. Chicago with its park system and planning, has a natural Olympic park right on the waterfront which is where they will set the Olympic cluster. This setting will be one of the most beautiful the IOC will have ever seen. Now about responsibility and sustainability. When you get past the surface of the bid and review of the plans, this isn't just a great plan for the athletes. It is both fiscally responsible and sustainable in many ways. There are 11 existing venues, 11 temporary venues and five new venues. With 11 temporary and five new, the bid has heightened sustainability. This model is responsible to the city and its citizens and to sport. We won't leave one white elephant post-legacy. The fourth is the passion of the city. Not only is Chicago one of the greatest sports towns, we're confident that the same fans will fill the stadiums to cheer on athletes to record performances as they did at the boxing tournament and also during the World Cup at Soldier Field. Also there is the youth the of city. There are young people, and hundreds of thousands of college students-think of the energy and excitement that brings and the strong social network of that. There would be a new level of enthusiasm and bring back the magic we know is part of the Olympic Games. With leadership, the ability, the setting, the sustainability, the passion and the youth, it all adds up to a spectacular Olympic experience. It was a very substantial victory for the city. We have a city we feel we can win with. Not only win but then if we win we can make America proud. We will fulfill the promise we made to make the best prepared city ever and also to conclude-when I said this to USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth in meeting, he said, 'OK Bob, we'll go with the Olympics in Chicago. What are you waiting for' Let's win this thing.' And I think we've got a team that can do that. Thank you. Q: Mr. Ueberroth said you're clearly not first. What do you need to do to improve that' PR: What made us feel good is that we don't want to be prepared. It's early, early, early. We'll see what happens with the short list. It'll be a sprint from June to October. We're working hard and to be specific, we want to get more IOC members more aware of Chicago's assets. It's a communication initiative and we'll continue to communicate our assets. We're not focused on the competition, we're focused on having the best possible bid Chicago can present and if we do that we can win. Q: With the 2008 election, what would a John McCain victory mean for the bid' RD: National politics have nothing to do with the Olympic and Paralympic Movement. If it did, (Jess) Owens and (Ralph) Metcalfe would never have appeared in the '30s. It's not about politics and I firmly believe, we have talked to Democrats and Republicans and citizens and mayors across the country, and the people of Chicago are excited about the Olympics being in Chicago. It's about us presenting to the IOC how important the Olympic Movement is to Chicago and to the United States and to the world, and we want to show we're willing to work very hard for it. I don't think politics should interfere whatsoever with who is President or who's not. Q: What is Ueberroth specifically saying Chicago needs to do differently and what do you think Chicago needs to do differently to climb the ladder' RD: This is tough competition. We don't take anything for granted and the shortlist will be tough competition. The IOC members require what is best for the athlete and for the Olympic and Paralympic movement and we feel we can reach that working together on behalf of the Olympic spirit here in Chicago. Q: How will you use diversity to enhance the bid' RD: Once you're on the shortlist that is key, that is the real competition. We have sister city relationships with about 28 cities, and the large ethnic community within the region. Mayors have sister cities all over. We hope to make it not only an experience for Chicago but also all over America and we will list support of mayors and governors. Last year we hosted Canadian, U.S, Mexico, Central, South American mayors, and this year we'll host mayors form North Africa and the Middle East which is very important for us. Q: All three major candidates have suggested boycotts. Would that be a copout' PR: Each of the three have said to us they are strongly for our bid. My personal belief is that politics should not interfere with support but everyone is entitled to their voice and opinions. The Opening Ceremonies are the most important statement for the athletes and sport. Many of those athletes will not be on the winning stand, so this is their opportunity to show hard work and achievements. I believe it's important that the Opening Ceremony acknowledge those athletes. Also the ceremony is a profound statement of unity and it's important to have that expressed in the Opening Ceremonies. BC: In the Opening Ceremonies I have been fortunate enough to march three times. There is a small percentage of athletes who have the privilege of medaling. So for the other 95 percent, walking into the stadium will be the greatest thrill they have even above their competitions. So to deny an athlete, that is not right. This is a major part of the Games and the athletes should all be able to march. Q: There are politics in the IOC. Will the statements of Presidential candidates hurt the bid at all' RD: I don't think so. Like I said we'd never know Jesse Owens or (Ralph) Metcalfe without politics. Representatives have really contributed to the quality of the movement. These people have given themselves not only to the Olympic Movement in all communities and have been great leaders not only in sport but also as citizens. At the boxing championships, you saw boxers from Iran walking right next to those from Israel and you have to look at those people as athletes first and foremost.