Obama's Olympic well-wishes
August 4th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama's Olympic well-wishes

(CNN) - President Barack Obama put politics aside on Saturday, using his weekly address to recognize the sportsmanship, success and sacrifice of the U.S. Olympic team.

Obama stayed stateside - holding official events and hitting the campaign trail - while his wife, Michelle, led the official U.S. delegation to the London games opening ceremony.

"I've got to admit I was a little jealous she got to go," he said. "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."

The United States, with a total of 43 medals, led other countries in the medal count as of Friday evening.

In his address, Obama highlighted some of the most prominent American victories.

"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," Obama said. "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."

He also noted "athletes in sports that don't always get as much attention," congratulating the women's rowing team on their gold and several individual medals.

"Kayla Harrison won America's first-ever gold medal in judo, and Marti Malloy won a bronze," he continued. "Kim Rhode became the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics with her gold in skeet shooting and her teammate, Army Sgt. Vincent Hancock, won his second skeet gold."

Obama also recognized the "character" and sportsmanship of the U.S. athletes at the games, including those competing in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

"It's not the medal count alone that inspires us," he said. "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."

He has weighed in on the Olympics previously this week, tweeting on Tuesday, "Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic medal record. You've made your country proud. -bo."

Campaigning in Mansfield, Ohio, on Wednesday, Obama told supporters, "I had a chance on the way over here to call up the women's gymnastic team for bringing home the gold."

"When people run track, I understand - I know how to run. They're just much faster," he said to laughter. "And I know how to swim - they just swim much better than I do. These gymnastics folks - I don't understand how they do what they do. So I told these young ladies as I was congratulating them, how do you not bust your head every time you're on that little balance beam? I couldn't walk across that balance beam."

And in his weekly address on Saturday, he looked to the week ahead.

"Go get 'em this week, Team USA," he said. "We can't wait to welcome you home."

Although House Majority Leader Eric Cantor focused the Republican weekly address on taxes, he added, "We wish our athletes in London the very best."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Bill in Florida

    Thank you Mr. President! War in Iraq ended; stock market up 70%, 4.5 million private-sector jobs created, bin Laden dead, al-Awlaki dead, GM rescued. Forward!

    August 4, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. RudyG

    The president congratulates our athletes and he's a wonderful president! How the bar has been lowered!
    I'm 58 years old and I don't remember ANY president NOT congratulating our athletes. Very basic part of the job, get it?
    Now, on to something a little more complicated – where are the jobs for the 14 million still out of work?
    I voted for you Mr. President. Still waiting.
    Happy birthday; you seem to be a good man. But the job requires a lot more than that.

    August 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. bcrunner

    Good Morning and Happy Birthday President Obma!!

    You keep on doing what you are doing.. Slowly, but steadily we will get our country back where it needs to be for everyone, the rich, the poor and the middle class. Our athletes are representing us well on the international stage and so are you. I am very proud. Watching men's volleyball. Match point for the US. Yeah!!

    August 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Solielevant

    Happy Birthday OBI, the Force is still with you and may It stay forever.

    August 4, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. larry

    Still can't believe the voters elected and inexperienced moron.as POTUS. Unbelievable!!!!!

    August 4, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Critical Thinker

    President Obama and the U.S. Coast Guard share two things in common, the same birthday and peak performance. Way to go Mr. President for moving the U.S. forward and staying grounded as a common citizen in the White House. I'm sure all U.S. olympians enjoy your devout attention and congratulations regarding their hard work and accomplishments. Forward Ho 2012.

    August 4, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. DaJudgeman

    Eric, it is sad to see someone so out of touch with both sound economics and the sentiment of the country. Quit listening to your own hype – "run the numbers" and listen to some real people outside your immediate circle.

    August 4, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Oislama Abu

    I have long forgotten the Republican party exist,i thought they now go by the name Tea Party /Extreme Lunatics party-They more they open their mouths and criticize Obama,the more the make people see the need not to ever vote for them.

    Four More years Obama.

    August 4, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. tillman

    Here is what President Obama should tell the Olympians:
    Look, if you've won a gold, silver, or bronze, you didn't win it on your own. You didn't get to the Olympics on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, if I won it must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something - there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
    If you won, somebody along the line gave you some help. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that allowed you to win. Somebody invested in training and coaches. If you've got a gold, silver, or bronze medal - you didn't win that. Somebody else made that happen. So that medal belongs to all working people not you.

    August 4, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. USA first

    Good to hear something non political on the dem side today. A lesson for everyone here, sometimes putting our nation above politics is a welcome change of pace.

    August 4, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Conscientia

    In not understanding how those gymnasts can possibly do what they do, he is representing us all!

    August 4, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Pander Express


    And "they didn't win those medals!"

    Actually, it was Romney that made that claim.

    August 4, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Linda

    Go Obama! You rock! And you complainers out there, the economy is doing well, I don't know one person that is laid off and my 401k is healthy. So stop complaining, get off your lazy butts and find a job. I am a recruiter and I can barely breathe with all the work I have..lots of jobs!

    August 4, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. JD Nelson

    I agree with the President. I can't fathom how they can walk, jump, roll on that balance beam. Again, he speaks for me.

    August 4, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Happy Birthday President Obama!

    Obama/Biden/Roberts 2012!

    August 4, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. regis9900

    @petemg Take your fake outrage elsewhere...if you've never seen the president recognize the military it's because YOU'VE never taken the time to watch him do it or look or it...and they certainly don't show it on FOX news, do they? Only a fool of the highest caliber would actually have the asinine belief that a president, not just this one, wouldn't recognize the military. And to think that the President is only congratulating the gold medal winners is the most ridiculous thing I've read today. Apart from the fact that it says right there in the article (which you probably didn't read because you already know everything about everything...so why bother with facts, right?) He congratulated the gold, silver, and bronze winners...and those that competed and didn't win anything. You now, if Obama was really the monster the right has imagined him to be, this country would be running like North Korea...but no, it isn't. You have the right to get on a CNN message board and spew nonsense and hate, and it doesn't stem from the President. You should do yourself a big favor and take time to figure out why it is that you hate a man so much that you've never even met. Of course, if you did that, where would you put the rage you have built up at your own pathetic existence of a life? Am I right, yeah I am.

    August 4, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. pkbkr

    Happy Birthday, President Obama! We are proud to have you as our leader! 4 more years! Obama/Biden 2012

    August 4, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. vj

    If we have worst repulican congress, then it would highly impossible to focus on economy. They didn't even pass a single bill to create jobs. Always they say that President policy are bad. Can they tell their plan which will create jobs. Republicans = Tea Party = Koch Brothers = Romney = Karl Rove = Ted Nugent = Rush Limbaugh = Ann = Sean Hannity = Bill O'Riley = many more....

    August 4, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    A day ago, Mitt Romney said as President, he would create 8 million jobs. Then today he says he would create 12 million jobs. However, what Mitt forgot to do is say in which country he would create those jobs. The only time Mitt talks about the middle class is when he goes on the offensive to accuse President Obama of not helping the middle class. But never once has Mitt said what he would do for the middle class. And the poor? Well, we all know he has already addressed the poor when he said he's not concerned about them because there is some imaginary safety net.

    So as President, what would Mitt do for the middle class? Let's review:

    Repeal Healthcare – Advantage 2%ers

    Deregulate Wall Street – Advantage 2%ers

    Continue the Bush tax cuts – Advantage 2%ers

    Repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act – Advantage 2%ers

    Repeal the Dream Act – Advantage 2%ers

    Privatize Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – Advantage 2%ers

    Fillibuster any legislation to increase the Minimun Wage – Advantage 2%ers

    More outsourcing of American jobs – Advantage 2%ers.

    Obama/Biden/Roberts 2012! The only choice forward.

    August 4, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Hope is the best of things

    The President welcomed home the military at the end of the Iraq War and has prasied them in numberous speeches. He went personally to meet the members of Seal Team Six. It's the Joint Chief who have delayed welcome home parades. If they think it might be a danger in doing so, I'm going to trust them on that.
    When he addresses the Olympic team, he is addressing american issues. When ever he speaks, he speaks for all of us. He's our elected repersentative of the forever great USA.
    There are those who love him, those who hate him and those who are baffled by his ability to remain posied and selfless. As the first and hopefully not last of POTUS who is not a white male, he walks this fine line to make it easier for those who are destined to be elected after him.
    Happy Birthday President Obama – from one proud American to another!

    August 4, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. T. Storm

    He is befuddled as much about a balanced budget as he is the balance beam.

    August 4, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Lizzy10

    I've always wondered the same thing, the balance beam looks too dangerous to me. Go USA, Go World and Go President Obama. Happy Birthday sir.

    August 4, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. AngryAnnie

    He's befuddled about a great many things...including how to do his job.

    August 4, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Slightly Left of Center

    @Dave A
    Dear Ria.. It is not ueasy to fix in 4 years something that took 8 years to create. Your economy is fine.. You have a computer, time to come here and write little comments, and i bet you are not hungry and cold right now. Oh, I get it!! Your glass is half empty. Oh, you diont have enough "stuff". You poor baby..
    Well said, Dave!

    August 4, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. r harris

    Has anyone noticed that since mittens went sabre rattling in Israel that the gas prices have gone up substantially.....Thanks a lot loser

    August 4, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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