First Lady is an Olympic Go-Getter

"It's not called the 'City that Works' for nothing," Obama said.

By Susan Ball
|  Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009  |  Updated 11:12 AM CDT
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Obama Takes a Stab at the Olympic Bid

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to students and the spouses of the visiting G-20 leaders at the CAPA School on Sept. 25 in Pittsburgh. President Barack Obama and heads of state from the world's leading economic powers are meeting for the second day of the G-20 summit, aimed at promoting economic growth.

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Michelle Obama has years of experience with the Olympics -- as an avid spectator.

The First Lady, who leaves for Copenhagen today, told the Chicago Tribune that growing up in a sports-centered household exposed her to years of Olympic spectacle.

As a 12-year-old girl in 1976, Obama said she looked up to gold-medalist gymnast Nadia Comeneci. She told the Tribune that she used to tell herself "I could do that."

Living with her late father, a "sports junkie," she said, also lead her to idolize athletes such as Olga Korbut and Carl Lewis.

"When I was little, he was breaking all those records," Obama said, "it was just amazing to watch him win again and again and again."

The Chicago-native expressed her commitment to Mayor Daley's success as well as her excitement at the opportunity to be a part of the 2016 bid.

"I couldn't never imagined that I would be leading the team to try to win the Olympic bid," Obama said.  "And it is pretty exciting for me personally."

She also said that the City of Chicago, despite its history of violence, would provide a welcoming atmosphere for visitors if selected to host the games.

"We're Midwestern folks, and there's a bit of Southern hospitality that comes along with that place," Obama told the Tribune.  "We know how to treat out visitors with respect and with open arms," she added.

In regard to violence, she said that all big cities have the same urban-based problems.

"Chicago isn't unique," Obama told the Tribune.  "Most of these games are taking place blocks away from my house. There's good security by my house these days."

And now that President Barack Obama is accompanying her on the Copenhagen quest, she says they will make separate presentations and arrive on different planes, the Tribune reported.

Obama jokingly said the two of them will not "do a joint poem" or "sing together or anything."

No word how Oprah, who's also traveling to Copenhagen, will make her individual mark on the bid.

"She's Oprah. Enough said... She brings that extra star quality," Obama said.

Full Coverage:  Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid

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