President Obama and Mrs. Obama Honor Team USA at the White House

President Obama and Mrs. Obama Honor Team USA at the White House


(applause) Mrs. Obama:
All right. While they’re shaking hands —
because the President has vowed to stay out here
to meet everyone, even if it blows his schedule. (laughter and applause) So I’m going to get things
started while Joe and Barack do their thing. Hello, Team USA! (applause) And welcome to the White House! Yes! (applause) Look, I had so much fun with
everyone over in London that when I got home, I told
Barack — what’s his name — my husband, this guy — (laughter) — that we had to invite
everybody over to the house. So here you are, and we are
thrilled that you all could join us today. Now leading the U.S. delegation
to the Olympic Ceremony was truly a dream come true for me. I got the chance to spend time
with so many of you and hear about your journeys. I got to see how incredibly
talented all of you are — including one member of our
women’s wrestling team who literally swept
me off my feet — (laughter) — if you hadn’t
seen the pictures. I’ve never been picked
up before by a wrestler. (laughter) It was good. And I got to see Team USA win,
and then win again, and again, and again. And together, our Olympians and
Paralympians brought home more than 200 medals from
London — that’s impressive. (applause) Very impressive. But even more impressive than
those medals is all the hard work that led up to that
Olympic and Paralympic dream. All those early mornings
and long hours at the gym, many of you balancing
work or classes, or raising your kids
at the same time. And today, I want you all to
know how proud we are of you, which is why this day
has been so special. We’ve been looking forward
to this for a very long time. I want you to know how inspired
we are by all of you — your passion, your
dedication, your courage. This summer, people
across the country — including some of the young
people with us today — watched you compete and thought
to themselves, you know what, if they can set a goal
and work hard to reach it, maybe I can too, and maybe I
can go a little farther and do a little better than
people think I can. They saw all of you
out there giving 100%, overcoming all
kinds of obstacles, representing our country with
such determination and pride. They saw athletes like Navy
Lieutenant Brad Snyder, who is here with us today. The President:
Where’s Brad? Mrs. Obama:
Right here. (applause) There’s Brad. (applause) Just one year ago, Lieutenant
Snyder was blinded by an IED in Afghanistan. But this summer, he
competed in London, winning two gold
medals and a silver. (applause) And afterwards, he said
— this is his quote — “To be able to come out here,
and to keep in the fight, “and keep going and
keep inspiring, “and keep perpetuating some
goodwill for our country “means a lot.” And that means a lot to us, too. It means a lot that all of you
chose to stand up and represent this country; to carry our flag
and remind us what an honor it is to call ourselves Americans. And today, I want to once
again congratulate you all on your achievements. I also want to thank the USOC
and all of you for getting more young people involved in sports
in their communities as part of Let’s Move. By the end of this year, we will
have helped 1.7 million kids all across the country get
healthy and active — and maybe we’ve inspired
some future Olympian and Paralympians, as well. So we appreciate everything
you all have done, and I want to wish you the very
best of luck in whatever you choose to do next. And with that, it is now my
pleasure to introduce another big fan of yours, my husband,
our President, Barack Obama. (applause) The President:
Hey! (applause) Thank you. I’m the fan-in-chief! (laughter) It is great to have Team
USA here at the White House. And I want to thank Michelle
for not teasing me too much, which is usually what she
does in her introductions. It is true, I was pretty jealous
of the fact that she had a chance to go to London. But like millions of Americans,
I had almost as much fun just following you guys from
here and what you did. I usually work pretty late,
but I’ve mastered the DVR — (laughter) — so I was able to catch
a little bit of everything. It was a great way
to end the day, watching you guys do things
that I did not think were humanly possible. So every morning, when Michelle
and I would work out we’d talk about, did you see that thing? Mrs. Obama:
Yes, it was good. The President:
That was unbelievable. (laughter) And then I’d jog
on the treadmill. (laughter) But I was inspired to watch you
guys even though I couldn’t do what you do. I was inspired to run a little
bit faster watching Tyson Gay, and lift a little more after
watching Holley Mangold, or do a few more crunches after
watching Michael Phelps and the other swimmers. (laughter) Somehow, it didn’t
work quite on me. (laughter) And wheelchair rugby — I’m
just glad you guys aren’t taking me out. (laughter and applause) But most importantly, what
you guys did was inspire us. You made us proud. And, as President, you made me
especially proud to see how you conducted yourself
on a world stage. You could not have been
better ambassadors and better representatives for the United
States and what we stand for. And one of the great things
about watching our Olympics is we are a portrait of what
this country is all about — people from every walk of life,
every background, every race, every faith. It sends a message to the
world about what makes America special. It speaks to the
character of this group, how you guys carried yourselves. And it’s even more impressive
when you think about the obstacles that many of you have
had to overcome not just to succeed at the games, but to
get there in the first place. Thirteen years ago, Kari Miller
was serving in the Army when her car was hit by a drunk driver. She lost both her legs. She went onto college, learned
how to play sitting volleyball. Today she is the proud
owner of two silver medals. (applause) Lance Brooks is here. Leading up to the Olympic Games,
he had a job pouring concrete for 12 hours a day, and still
managed to put in two more hours of training in the discus. Katie Ledecky may have
been swimming in London, but she still had to finish the
summer reading assignments for her high school English class. Where’s Katie? Yes, there she is. (applause) She brought some of her
classmates here today. (applause) And then there’s
Manteo Mitchell. Where is he? Now, this has to be one of my
favorite stories of the whole Olympics — breaks his shin bone
halfway through his lap on the 4×400 meter relay, but he
finishes anyway in 46 seconds, and helps the U.S.
qualify for the final. (applause) Right here. Unbelievable. So all of you have stories of
determination and perseverance. All of you made incredible
sacrifices to get here. About a month ago, I
was in Colorado Springs. We stopped by the Olympic
training center and I met a bunch of athletes, including
some of the amazing Paralympians that were just
about to head out. I got to meet some of the
bobsledders who were working out together for the
next Winter Olympics, and it was just amazing to see
not only how hard people were training, but also to hear
how much you guys get to eat during training — (laughter) — which I was very
impressed with. So I hope that all of you guys
get some well-deserved time off over the next few months. But I know that pretty soon,
many of you will be back in the gym or on the track or in
the pool, thinking about Rio, because the Olympics is not just
about what happens on the big stage in front of the cameras
when the world is watching. It’s about what’s happening
when nobody is watching. And that’s what really counts. As Olympians and Paralympians,
you guys all find the strength to keep pushing on good
days and bad days — because you believe that no
matter where we come from, or no matter what hand
we’ve been dealt in life, with enough effort, there is
no limit to how far we can go. That’s what sets
all of you apart. That’s what sets America apart. We celebrate individual effort,
but we also know that, together, we can do incredible things
that we couldn’t accomplish on our own. So thank you for being
such great role models, especially for our young people. We could not be prouder of you. You gave us a summer that
we will never forget. It is a great honor
to welcome you home. And I’ve been told that,
because of my schedule, I’m not allowed to
shake everybody’s hands, but I am going to break the rule
and try to shake as many as I can before I get
dragged out of here. God bless you. Marine band, let’s
hit the music! I love this! (applause) ♪♪(Olympic music playing)♪♪ (laughter) Huh? ♪♪(Olympic music playing)♪♪ ♪♪(music playing)♪♪ The President:
There we go; all right. Mariel Zagunis:
Here we go. All right; I’ll hold the
mic and you can talk. Lieutenant Brad Snyder:
Hello. Ahh. So, I’d like to start off by
saying thanks to the First Lady for kind of stealing the words
out of my mouth, literally. But I had the distinct honor
of closing out both the Olympics and the Paralympics by bearing
our flag at the closing ceremonies a few days ago
and I was thinking about it in retrospect. The toughest aspect of my
recovery over the last year was the idea that my service was
kind of taken away from me. And so to be able to throw
on, like, this new uniform, represent Team USA and get back
out there and continue to serve and like she said, get back
in the fight was amazing for my family. And it’s really a privilege and
an honor to stand in front of you today and present that flag
that we carried through both — the opening ceremonies,
all through the games, and then again in the
closing ceremonies. Really glad to be the one
to represent Team USA. To bring that flag home
to you, our President, is really a privilege. Thank you so much. (cheers and applause) Mariel Zagunis:
And I was the flag bearer in
the opening ceremonies for the Olympics and a special thing
about this flag is that the USOC launched the Raise Our
Flag campaign this summer. And it was a fundraising
effort to support Olympians and Paralympians. And over 29,000 people donated
to this cause and each donation was turned into a stitch that
was incorporated in the flag that Brad and I carried. And so it’s my pleasure and
honor today to present you guys for — with the flag
from the Olympic Games. (applause) The President:
Let’s get a good
picture of this. (applause)

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