Weekly Address: President Obama – Representing the Best of America in the Summer Olympics

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama celebrated the beginning of the Summer Olympics by wishing Team USA the best of luck as they compete on the world stage. The President said Team USA reminds the world why America always sets the example as a nation of immigrants that finds strength by embracing our diversity and finding unity in our national pride. President Obama thanked the American Olympic and Paralympic athletes for representing the best of America. Our Olympians always remind us of our potential – that no matter where you’re from, you can succeed with determination and discipline. That’s not only the Olympic spirit, but also the American spirit.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Representing the Best of America in the Summer Olympics

Remarks of President Barack Obama as Delivered
Weekly Address, The White House, August 6, 2016

Every four years, our nation’s attention turns to a competition that’s as heated as it is historic. People pack arenas and wave flags. Journalists judge every move and overanalyze every misstep. Sometimes we’re let down, but more often we’re lifted up. And just when we think we’ve seen it all, we see something happen in a race that we’ve never seen before.

I’m talking, of course, about the Summer Olympics.

This month, Rio is hosting the first-ever Games held in South America – and we’re ready to root on Team USA. We’re excited to see who will inspire us this time; whose speed will remind us of Jesse Owens; whose feats will remind us of Bob Beamon’s amazing jump? Which young American will leave us awestruck, the way a teenager named Kerri Strug did when she stuck that landing, and when another kid named Cassius Clay gave the world its first glimpse of greatness? Who will match Mary Lou Retton’s perfection; or pull off an upset like Rulon Gardner’s; or dominate like the Dream Team?

That’s why we watch. And we have a lot to look forward to this year. Team USA reminds the world why America always sets the gold standard: We’re a nation of immigrants that finds strength in our diversity and unity in our national pride.

Our athletes hail from 46 states, D.C., and the Virgin Islands. Our team boasts the most women who have ever competed for any nation at any Olympic Games. It includes active-duty members of our military and our veterans. We’ve got basketball players who stand nearly seven feet tall and a gymnast who’s 4-foot-8. And Team USA spans generations: a few athletes who are almost as old as I am, and one born just a year before my younger daughter.

Our roster includes a gymnast from Texas who’s so trailblazing, they named a flip after her. A young woman who persevered through a tough childhood in Flint, Michigan, to become the first American woman to win gold in the boxing ring. And a fencing champion from suburban Jersey who’ll become the first American Olympian to wear a hijab while competing. And on our Paralympic team, we’re honored to be represented by a Navy veteran who lost his sight while serving in Afghanistan and continues to show us what courage looks like every time he jumps in the pool.

When you watch these Games, remember that it’s about so much more than the moments going by in a flash. Think about the countless hours these athletes put in, knowing it could mean the difference in a split-second victory that earns them a lifetime of pride, and gives us enduring memories. It’s about the character it takes to train your heart out, even when no one’s watching. Just hard work, focus, and a dream. That’s the Olympic spirit – and it’s the American spirit, too

In our Olympians, we recognize that no one accomplishes greatness alone. Even solo athletes have a coach beside them and a country behind them. In a season of intense politics, let’s cherish this opportunity to come together around one flag. In a time of challenge around the world, let’s appreciate the peaceful competition and sportsmanship we’ll see, the hugs and high-fives and the empathy and understanding between rivals who know we share a common humanity. Let’s honor the courage it takes, not only to cross the finish line first, but merely to stand in the starting blocks. And let’s see in ourselves the example they set – proving that no matter where you’re from, with determination and discipline, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

That idea – that you can succeed no matter where you’re from – is especially true this year. We’ll cheer on athletes on the first-ever Olympic Refugee Team: Ten competitors from the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Syria who personify endurance.

To all of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes wearing the red, white, and blue – know that your country couldn’t be prouder of you. We admire all the work you’ve done to get to Rio and everything you’ll do there. Thank you for showing the world the best of America. And know that when you get up on that podium, we’ll be singing the National Anthem – and maybe even shedding a tear – right alongside you.

Now go bring home the gold!

Bolding added.

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  2 comments for “Weekly Address: President Obama – Representing the Best of America in the Summer Olympics

  1. JanF
    August 6, 2016 at 6:17 am

    From Rio de Janeiro, poverty on the outskirts of the games:

    They could see the fireworks but they have felt no impact from the Olympic Games.

    Residents of the Mangueira favela or slum, which overlooks the Maracana Stadium where the 2016 Olympic opening ceremony was held, expressed a mix of pride and disappointment as the Games opened in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

    “Look, we’re extremely proud to be the host of the Games, but has there been any benefit to us?” asked Lilian Sales, a Mangueira resident.

    “No, nothing has changed in my life because of hosting these Games and it’s absurd to think that anything will change for my two children,” said Sales, who has a son who is 6-years-old and a daughter less than 12 months old.

  2. JanF
    August 6, 2016 at 6:33 am

    On Twitter, people were irritated that NBC did a tape delay of the opening ceremonies so that they could have a commercial break ever 5 minutes.

    Others were more irritated that the commentators were so clueless about slavery (part of the History of Brazil opening piece). Matt Lauer made arriving in Rio in shackles sound like a travelogue. It did not sit well with some:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

    Horror of slave trade is depicted and Matt Lauer says: “the leading destination for African slaves” #OpeningCeremony

    My own opinion is that the Olympic games no longer (maybe never did?) celebrate the glory of sport. They are too commercialized too jingoized too politicized and, frankly, too dangerous. They should be replaced with more TV coverage of selected international games without the hoopla and inevitable financial hardship to the host city. Or set them up with a permanent location where the facilities don’t have to be built from scratch every 4 years and the infrastructure, facilities and security, hardened.

    But, really, the bottom line is that the Olympics are not egalitarian the ‘best athletes competing for gold” – the athletes who go are sponsored or self-funded and money and privilege (and just plain access) has a huge say in who will be competing.

    Time to retire them.

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