Obama's Olympics Pitch Highlights 'Sacred Trust'

In a hometown pitch for the world's biggest sporting event, President Barack Obama lobbied Olympic leaders to give the 2016 Summer Games to Chicago, saying the U.S. "is ready and eager to assume that sacred trust."

The president and his wife, fellow Chicagoan Michelle Obama, put their capital behind an enormous campaign to win the Olympics bid. Never before had a U.S. president made such an in-person appeal.

"I urge you to choose Chicago," Obama told members of the International Olympic Committee.

"And if you do -- if we walk this path together -- then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud," the president said.

Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo have been making their cases to the IOC for more than a year, but many IOC members were believed to be undecided about which city they would vote for Friday. Some said they might not decide until after the cities made their final presentations in Copenhagen.

Both Obamas spoke on deeply personal terms about Chicago, the city at the center of the world's spotlight so many times, including in November when Barack Obama won the White House and stood proudly with his family.

The president described Chicago as a place of diversity and warmth.

"Chicago is a place where we strive to celebrate what makes us different just as we celebrate what we have in common," he said. "It's a place where our unity is on colorful display ... It's a city that works from its first World's Fair more than a century ago to the World Cup we hosted in the nineties, we know how to put on big events."

For all the anticipation surrounding Obama's appearance in Copenhagen, his arrival at the IOC meeting was decidedly subdued.

The 106 committee members, who had already been warned not show bias during the presentations, sat silently as the Obamas walked into the Bella Center with the rest of 12-member Chicago delegation.