The President's Weekly Address
Hi, everybody. Today I want to take a break from the back and forth of campaign season and talk about something that's brought us all together this week: the Summer Olympics.
These games remind us that for all our differences, we're Americans first. And we could not be prouder of the men and women representing our country in London in both the Olympics and in the Paralympics.
Last weekend, Michelle led the American delegation to London and reaffirmed the special relationship we share with our strongest ally, Great Britain. She met with the Queen and with Prime Minister Cameron's wife Samantha. She spent some time thanking our brave servicemembers and military families. And of course, she took in as many events as she could to cheer on our athletes.
Now, I've got to admit, I was a little jealous that she got to go. But like many of you, I caught as many events as I could, jumping off the couch for a close race or a perfect vault. I watched the wonderful young women of our gymnastics team recapture the team gold for America, and I was filled with pride watching Gabby Douglas win the all-around gold with incredible poise and grace. I watched our swimmers win a haul of medals and Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. I saw our women's soccer team power through the competition.
And I'm just as proud of all our athletes in sports that don't always get as much attention. The U.S. women's eight continued its rowing dominance with another gold medal. Kayla Harrison won America's first-ever gold medal in judo, and Marti Malloy won a bronze. Kim Rhode became the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics with her gold in skeet shooting, and her teammate, Army Sergeant Vincent Hancock, won his second skeet gold.
I also thought of the truly difficult journeys that many of our athletes have made. Some have faced personal loss or beaten cancer. Some have worked long shifts at multiple jobs to feed their Olympic dream. And some have done the impossible. Less than 4 years ago, Bryshon Nellum was shot three times in his legs. But this week, he'll run the 400 meters. And as a boy, Lopez Lomong fled war and persecution and life as a refugee, one of the "lost boys" of Sudan. Today, he's an American and representing his country at the Olympics for the second time.
So it's no surprise America is vying for the top of the medal count. But it's not the medal count alone that inspires us; most of our athletes won't claim a medal at all. It's the character of the men and women who compete for those medals. It's their hard work and sacrifice: the countless hours in the gym, in the pool, on the track. It's their dogged perseverance and unyielding determination through disappointment and triumph alike.
It's that unconquerable spirit, that American spirit, that says even though we may have very different stories to tell, even though we may not all look alike or talk alike or be dealt the same hand in life, if we work hard, we can achieve our dreams. We can make it if we try. We are one people, with common values and ideals; we celebrate individual excellence, but recognize that only together can we accomplish great and important things we cannot accomplish alone.
That's why we watch. That's why we cheer. That's why we come together for 2 weeks in summer and swell with pride at the incredible things our fellow citizens can do.
And so to all our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, whether you've already competed or have yet to compete: Your country could not be prouder of you. Thank you for presenting the best of America to the rest of the world. And thank you for becoming new role models to our children, mine included, and inspiring them to believe that if they work hard and do their best, they can achieve great things too.
Go get them this week, Team U.S.A. We can't wait to welcome you home.
God bless you, and God bless America.
Note: The address was recorded at approximately 3:10 p.m. on August 3 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on August 4. In the address, the President referred to Lopez Lomong, runner, 2012 U.S. Olympic team. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 3, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on August 4.
Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/302114