The President. Colonel Miller asked me if I'd like to say a few words. I'd be awful disappointed if I didn't; I had them all written out here. [Laughter] Well, it is a pleasure to be with you here today. This is a training facility of which I think we can all be proud, and let me add, it's being used by some of the finest athletes in the world. And we're mighty proud of them, too, which means proud of you.
By the way, where's the riding ring- [laughter] —to get down to my present sport. But we had the U.S.C. women's basketball team at the White House not long ago, and so I saw a couple of familiar faces here when I was watching the practice over there.
I'm planning to be at the July 28th opening ceremony, so I'll see you there along with many of your friends from around the world. It's unfortunate that not all nations will be represented at the games. I hope you realize, however, that the success of the Olympics and your personal success in the games in no way depend on political machinations of power brokers in countries that are less than free. The games are moving forward, and they'll be successful.
Closer to home, the Olympic movement is alive and well in the United States. Part of the reason is because of the excellent leadership given to the United States Olympic Committee by your president, Bill Simon, by your executive director for over a decade, Colonel Don Miller.
One of the major goals of our administration has been promoting private-sector initiatives, getting people involved instead of waiting for the government to take responsibility. Well, this Olympic effort is probably the greatest private-sector initiative that's ever been undertaken.
Seventy thousand athletes have trained at this facility since 1977. The U.S.. Olympic Committee budget is increased from less than $9 billion—million dollars—during Don Miller's first year to nearly $90 million for this Olympiad. I'm particularly impressed with the job opportunity program for athletes, permitting them to train while earning a living, and that sounds like a good job to me.
A host of corporations, sponsors, and individuals have contributed time, energy, and financial support to make sure the games and our team are the best ever. This spirit is especially important in our efforts, because ours is the only major national Olympic committee out of all 158 which receives no government financial support.
We pulled out all the stops. Every State of our Union has a volunteer organization to raise money. Thirty-seven corporations and more than a million individuals are supporters of the U.S.. Olympics—they're all members of the U.S.. team. And thanks to this national team effort, you'll be the best prepared competitors in history, and the Olympics are going to be the best ever held.
The Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee has also done a terrific job. There are more Olympians involved in these games than ever before. Their "Spirit Team" has been relating their Olympic experiences to get others involved and build support and enthusiasm for the Olympics. Unlike past Olympics, which never employed Olympians in management roles, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee has Olympians participating at all levels.
One aspect of the games of special note is the new competitive events for women. These games will do more for women than has ever been done before in the Olympics. There'll be 12 new women's Olympics events.
I remember the years when I was ...
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