Washington, Apr 5: US President Barack Obama in a video welcomed Olympic evaluators to Chicago to begin the task of grading whether the city is ready to host the 2016 games.
Obama described Chicago as an international city that he and his wife and children call home, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Obama, who remains overseas, described a city that grew up under architect Daniel Burnham's refrain - used a lot in the city's bid for the games - "make no small plans, they have no magic to stir the soul," and called the city a great American melting pot.
"It's a city where the world's races and religions and nationalities all live and work and play and reach for the American Dream that brought them here; where our civic parades wave the colors of every culture; where our classrooms are filled with the sounds of the world's languages," he said, noting that jazz, ranchera and bhangra can be heard "down the street from one another."
But beyond that, the President told the 13-member International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission, Chicago is his home.
"After your visit, once you discover the Chicago that I know - the city that I made my home, the city where my wife grew up, the city where we raised our daughters just blocks from where these games will be held - I am confident you will discover that you're already in the perfect host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games," the President said.
While Chicago is the first to be evaluated, the IOC team will also be grading finalist cities Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.
Today's closed-door discussions will focus on environmental issues, transportation, proposed sporting venues across the city, and the Olympic Village planned for the Michael Reese Hospital campus in the 2900 block of South Ellis.
The IOC evaluation commission will tour the venues and Olympic Village site on Sunday, Apr 5. By the time they wrap up their work on Tuesday, the group will be prepared to report back to the 100-plus members of the IOC, which will vote on a host city for the games on October 2 in Copenhagen.