Oprah Winfrey Joins Chicago 2016 Delegation

October 1st, 2009 by

(AP) Oprah Winfrey is going on the road, this time in support of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Chicago 2016 announced Wednesday that the talk show queen will travel to Copenhagen next week ahead of the Oct. 2 vote. Chicago is in a tight contest with Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Winfrey has been an ardent supporter of the bid.

When she shut down Michigan Avenue for her season premiere earlier this month, she said she hoped it would showcase the city for International Olympic Committee members.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

CHICAGO (AP) _ There’s gold in Chicago 2016′s delegation. Lots of it.

Michael Johnson, Nadia Comaneci, Nastia Liukin and Jackie Joyner-Kersee are among 14 Olympic and two Paralympic gold medalists who will travel to Denmark next week in support of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee will choose from Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo on Oct. 2.

“It’s hard for me to be unbiased about this,” said Bart Conner, a Chicago native and double gold medalist in gymnastics at the 1984 Olympics. “When you look at the plan and the spectacular city and the legacy plan and the convenience for the athletes against the backdrop of the city, on lots of levels, Chicago gets it and understands what the Olympics is about.”

Star power could be key in a decision that is expected to come down to a couple of votes, and Chicago will have no shortage of it. First lady Michelle Obama leads the delegation, and she’ll be joined by 26 Olympians and Paralympians. President Barack Obama is still trying to decide whether to appear personally on behalf of his adopted hometown.

Johnson had the defining performance the last time the Summer Games were in the United States. Wearing bright gold shoes, he became the first _ and so far, only _ man to win the 200 and 400 meters at the same Olympics.

Comaneci’s string of seven perfect 10s at the Montreal Games captivated the world, and the Romanian teenager appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Time.

Liukin is the reigning Olympic champion, joining Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson as the only American women to win the all-around title. Joyner-Kersee, an Illinois native, is among the greatest track and field athletes ever, winning three golds in the heptathlon and long jump.

Joining them are fellow gold medalists Michael Conley, the 1992 triple jump champion who grew up near the planned Olympic stadium in Washington Park; Bryan Clay (decathlon); Brandi Chastain (soccer); Bob Ctvrtlik (volleyball); Donna de Varona and Gary Hall Jr. (swimming); Ron Freeman (track and field); Edwin Moses (hurdles); Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball); and April Holmes and Linda Mastandrea (Paralympic track and field);

Willie Banks and Connie Moore (track and field); Bob Berland (judo); Dragomir Cioroslan (weightlifting); Anita De Frantz (rowing); David Diaz (boxing); Paul Moran (wheelchair tennis and sitting volleyball); Mike Plant (speedskating); Bill Scherr (wrestling); and Diane Simpson (rhythmic gymnastics) also will be part of the delegation.

Noticeably absent is Michael Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls and has appeared in videos supporting Chicago’s bid.


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