First Lady looks to Olympic hopefuls to inspire kids to get active

By Emily Thompson | BSU at the Games

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to the media at the 2012 USOC Team USA Media Summit.

Journalists representing media outlets from all over the country only applauded twice during the three-day 2012 Team USA Media Summit—when First Lady Michelle Obama walked on stage and again when she left the stage.

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) announced a collaboration with the First Lady and her Let’s Move! Campaign, a program dedicated to combating childhood obesity. The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) solicited commitments from several USOC National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to work to get 1.7 million children involved in beginning-level sports.

Two-time Olympian Natalie Couglin, who admitting to being very nervous, announced the First Lady, saying, “America’s youth are this country’s greatest asset, but they need our help. The more we can do to expose kids and children to the Olympic and Paralympic sports, the better off we’ll all be.”

When First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage, she told the stories of a few of this year’s Olympic hopefuls and explained the role that the Olympic and Paralympic Games played in her childhood.

“One of my happiest memories center around watching the Olympic Games on TV when I was a little girl, cheering on Mary Lou and Nadia, Paul Lewis and so many others. And like so many young people, I was awed and inspired by those athletes.”

The First Lady will also be leading the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer. “So when I’m sitting in that stadium in London, cheering on Team USA, I’ll be thinking about all those young people cheering them on at home,” the First Lady said. “I’ll be thinking about the power of the Games to truly inspire a generation.”

She also discussed the importance of getting children involved in entry-level sports. “Sometimes all it takes is that first lesson, or that first clinic, or that first class to get a child excited about a new sport,” the First Lady said. “All it takes is one opportunity, and once they’re engaged, that’s when coaches and instructors can step in and become mentors. That’s when discipline and teamwork can become daily lessons. That’s when being active can become a lifelong habit.”

Emily Thompson is a senior magazine-journalism major at Ball State University covering feature stories for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at@ekthomposon2410@bsuatthegames and

Author: ColleenSteffen

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