First Lady Michelle Obama Leads U.S.
By Jonathan Gramling
On July 23rd, First Lady Michelle Obama held a conference call to highlight the
coming Olympics as she heads the U.S. delegation to the London Olympics and to
use the occasion to promote physical fitness among young people. The following is
an excerpt from that call.
“I just wanted to take a moment before we got started because I just want to say how
heartbroken Barack and I are about the tragic shootings that took place in Aurora,
Colorado on Friday. I would be remiss not to mention the incident. Barack and I, we
have seen people — and so have people around this country — across this country
come together as one American family to mourn the victims of this devastating event
and to support their friends and families and loved ones. And I know that we'll
continue that support in the difficult time ahead. So I know that we are all — even as
we enter the Olympics, this wonderful occasion I know that we are all holding the
people of Aurora in our hearts and our prayers. So, again, I just wanted to take a
moment to say that.
I am beyond proud to be leading the U.S. delegation to the Opening Ceremony of this
year's Olympic Games. And during my visit, in addition to cheering for Team USA, I'm
going to have the chance to meet with our Olympic athletes and the folks who work
in our embassy in London as well. I'll also be hosting a Let's Move event with
American and British students, including American military kids. And that is going to
be a ball.
Leading our nation's delegation and traveling to London is truly a dream come true. If anybody had asked me when I was 10 or 11 or
20, or actually 40, whether I would be doing this, I would have bet not. Some of my fondest memories — when I was young and not so
young — involve watching the Olympics on TV and cheering on Team USA.
And as part of this trip and my Let's Move initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity, I decided that I wanted to turn that
Olympic spirit and inspiration into action by using these games as a way to get more kids up and moving. And that's why I challenged
the U.S. Olympic Committee and 10 of its governing bodies to commit to helping one million kids get active in their communities this
year. And we thought that the goal of one million kids was an ambitious target, but our partners not only met that goal, they added
another 700,000 more to that commitment. So that means that 1.7 million young people are going to be participating in Olympic and
Paralympic sports in their communities this year as a result of these commitments.
So this involves sports like soccer, tennis, swimming and gymnastics. They are expanding their beginner programming and planning
exciting events in clinics to engage kids for the very first time in many of these sports.
In addition, in conjunction with the start of the 2012 London games, we've declared July 28th Let's Move Olympic Fun Day. And this is
going to be really cool. On that day, kids and families across the country are going to come together to cheer on Team USA and
participate in all kinds of athletic activities in their communities through meetup.com.
So as our Olympic athletes begin to compete in London, they will truly be inspiring a generation of young people to get active and to
strive for excellence. And they're going to be reminding us all that being an Olympian isn't just about winning the gold or setting a new
record. It's really about pushing yourself. It's about believing in yourself and refusing to give up, no matter what obstacles you might
So I am very excited about this trip for so many reasons, but I'm excited that it will serve as a powerful opportunity to send another
message to the kids in this country and other countries about the importance of staying fit, learning to compete, staying healthy. And
this isn't just about sports, it's about being active.
So we are very excited. And I wish all of the members of Team USA the best of luck in these games. And I truly look forward to
cheering them on in London this week.”