First Lady Michelle Obama visits athletes, says Olympics inspired her family

First Lady Michelle Obama with members of the USA Basketball women's national team.

Just hours before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Team USA got a very special, all-American visitor: First Lady Michelle Obama.

Obama arrived in London as head of the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. About 60 U.S. athletes were able to meet her personally this morning during her breakfast-time appearance at the University of East London.  

The first lady’s trip to London is part of her ongoing campaign to encourage America’s youth to take part in regular exercise. She told the athletes she is in awe of their abilities and commitment and described the experience of attending her first Olympic Games as “other-worldly.”

“I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be leading the delegation ahead of the ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic games,” the first lady told the athletes. “Some of my fondest memories growing up, and even as an adult, involve watching the Olympics on TV.”

 The First Lady told Team USA that she was inspired as a child by the incredible abilities of Olympic athletes, and that she and her brother one day dreamed of achieving something great as well. The first lady also shared a personal story about her father’s MS diagnosis and how the Olympics became an incredibly important time for her family.

“My father wasn’t able to walk without the assistance of crutches,” she said. “He retained his love of sports and the Olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage. These games especially affected our little house on the south side of Chicago.”

She finished her remarks with a bit of advice to athletes: “Try to have fun, try to breath a little bit… but also win. In the end, winning is good.”

The first lady spent 30 minutes mingling with members of Team USA, often hugging them, and posing for photos.   

“It made me feel really proud to be an American. To have her here supporting us means a lot,” said fencer Tim Morehouse, who did acknowledge that it was an early morning for the day of the opening ceremony.

“We’ve got our naps planned,” he added.

“I was just so excited to meet her and be able to take pictures with her, and she actually hugged us,” women’s table tennis player Ariel Hsing, 16, told Metro. “I just thought that was incredible.”

Now, athletes will return their attention to tonight’s long-awaited opening ceremony. An air of anticipation seemed to follow Team USA this morning.   

“I’m marching this time,” Olympic hurdler and gold medalist Angelo Taylor told Metro. This is his third Olympic experience, but tonight will be his first time participating in the opening ceremony.

“I’m excited, I’m looking forward to the show. I’m looking to see what’s different this year,” Taylor said.

1994 Olympic gold medalist and basketball great Grant Hill, who is accompanying the first lady as part of the Presidential Delegation, offered his own words of wisdom to young athletes who may be feeling the pressure as the games begin.

“Relax, have fun. If you’re not prepared by now, you’re not going to be prepared,” Grant said. “So just go out and do what you do best. There’s a reason why you’re here.”

(Photo by Errol Anderson)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

Movies

Interview: Robert Rodriguez doesn't mind that Jessica Alba…

In making a Hollywood-friendly adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty "Sin City" graphic novel series, Robert Rodriguez learned that some things have to go — namely…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 20: 'Extant,' 'Legends'…

See a two hour block of Halle Berry's scifi show, "Extant."

The Word

The Word: Mischa Barton in trouble, not that…

  People are really, really worried about Mischa Barton. Again. The former "O.C." star is reportedly in deep financial trouble and can't seem to get…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Food

The Chic Wife tells us how to use…

Kris Schoels, aka The Chic Wife, grew up on a farm with peach trees. August is National Peach Month, but Kris Schoels doesn’t need a reason…