Obama congratulates Rio winning 2016 Summer Olympics bid


"I think this is a truly historic event, as these will be the first Olympic Games ever to be held in South America," Obama said on his return from Copenhagen, where he flew overnight to unsuccessfully push for Chicago – his home town – winning the bid for 2016 Summer Olympics on Friday. "As neighbours in the Americas, as friends to the Brazilian people, we welcome this extraordinary sign of progress, and the fact that the 2016 Games will be in the Americas," Obama said.

"I had a chance to talk to President Lula and gave him hearty congratulations and told him that our athletes will see him on the field of competition in 2016," he said. On his unsuccessful bid, Obama said he believes that it is always a worthwhile endeavour to promote and boost the US and invite the world to come see America. "We obviously would have been eager to host these Games, but as I said, this nation and our athletes are still very much excited to compete in 2016. "We once again want to say how much we are committed to the Olympic spirit, which I think represents some of the best of humanity," Obama said.

Earlier while flying back from Copenhagen, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said the President was "disappointed" on Chicago loosing the bid for the 2016 Olympics. "I think he continues to believe, and we heard this from a number of people, that Chicago had a very strong if not the best bid. But I think he feels obviously proud of his wife for the presentation that she made, and doesn't shy away from promoting America in this event or in any other venue as a way to showcase this country," Gibbs said. "I talked to him about it, he said he was disappointed at the outcome, but I don't -- doesn't change his involvement in it at all," he said.

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