Obama's Olympic well-wishes
August 4th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
9 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. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Happy birthday President Obama.

    August 4, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  2. petemg

    Sure he has time to address the Olympic team but he has no time to address the issues of America. Would he be saying this if the team had not won gold. He has time to address the team but he does not recognize the military. I am so sick of him addressing people when it benefits him.

    August 4, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  3. T'sah From Virginia

    GO – USA!!! I will put aside my political thoughts aside too (only on this Ticker!!)

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!! Oops, I said I would put my political thoughts aside – OH WELL!!

    August 4, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  4. Anonymous

    USA will win

    August 4, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  5. rla

    Too bad he didn't apply these principals when he needed to on the economy????

    August 4, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  6. BJ

    Thank you Mr. President for those kind and encouraging words...this is why you are the President. Have a Happy Birthday!

    August 4, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  7. Bootstomper

    Eric cantor what a hack.

    August 4, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Republican who supports President Obama

    A true man of character and a LEADER. Hands down this President deserves a second term. All of the sourpuss Republicans can take a lesson and move away from the toxic obstructionist mentality.

    August 4, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. chuck weidemann

    What republicans don't understand is life goes on and the more complaining they do without showing any desire to "work" at resolving this countries issues ...the better light Obama is viewed by. Here Obama reflects what every American feels and thinks and gives us all time to escape the BS.....and Cantor just cries and complains . I'm personally tired of the people at the core of the problem complaining the loudest about no resolutions....It's not working!!!!

    August 4, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. Absolutely

    And "they didn't win those medals!"

    August 4, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. clarke

    All of these men/women are to be admired, I love watching them. Thank you Mr. President for telling them so.

    August 4, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. george of the jungle

    one classy president. He is so in touch with everything around him. The repos have no idea how proud we are to have him as our president. Forward 2012

    August 4, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Ed1

    The private sector is doing just fine.

    August 4, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. ShawnDH

    It must disappoint our right-wing "patriot" friends to see the US kicking butt in the Olympics. The US is stronger than ever and it really goes against their OBAMA HAS DESTROYED EVERYTHING IN AMERICA AND MADE US A WEAK LAUGHINGSTOCK NATION delusion. What else could their bizarre "restore American greatness" nonsense be about?We're a great nation NOW and we have a great president. Right-wingers apparently don't think we're a great nation anymore.

    August 4, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. 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..

    August 4, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Steven Colo

    Wow. Obama says a few simple words about the Olympics and the partisans here go nuts.

    It's the Olympics, folks. Not partisan at all.

    August 4, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. Ann

    Happy Birthday!

    POTUS is so in tune to what is happening. Recognized the goodness, our country men & women are doing in London. He inspires hard work, preserverance, and courage. Something the repub. can not do. They only spew hate, negativity and no acknowledgement of success of our Olypians. Attention only to the top 2% .Romay with his unpresidential candidate behavior all over Europe made America look like laughinstock of years ago before Obama..

    Europe repects America because of Obama !! Read the Eurpean papers.

    August 4, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. JM

    Obama is so great. Total class.

    Didn't realize it was his birthday. Happy birthday to our wonderful president.

    God bless him; God bless us one and all.

    August 4, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Happy Birthday, President Obama! Keep up the hard work on behalf of our country! I hope you enjoy celebrating your special days with family and friends.

    August 4, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. ptny

    Happy Birthday, Prez! Hope it's a good one.

    August 4, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. anthony76

    This man is on the right side of history.
    When we look back at the political actions of both parties, it will be evident (despite his successes or failures) who was working on behalf of all Americans, and not just the upper-class.
    Despite the mud thrown at him, he still keeps his chin up and his eyes on the prize (see Bin Laden, AHCA).

    and in response to "Absolutely
    And "they didn't win those medals!"

    it should read... "they didn't win those medals on their own"
    *there.. i fixed it for you. (even Romney has uttered those words.

    Happy Birthday Mr President, and GO Team USA!

    August 4, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. jim atmad

    Thanks for the kind words for our team, and Happy Birthday, Mr President.

    I am, and always will be, proud to have been an early supporter of yours. You have restored calm and competence to the Office of President of the United States.

    August 4, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Tubby the Tuba Texasc

    Mr. President you are doing a really good job, given what you were handed. Sorry for the sorry people who are being unrealistic so they have an excuse to bad mouth you, our great President. People have already forgotten what and where we were when you took the reigns with 800 thousand jobs being lost per month. The nation was hemorraging and you and your team pull it together. Slow and stead wins the race!

    August 4, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. connieb

    And "they didn't win those medals!"
    Exactly what President Obama was saying. They did not win those medals along. They had love, sweat, tears and financial help from their families, coaches, communities, financial backers, etc., etc. The list is long,–but it could noit have been done without the courage, stamina and dedication of the athlete. Exactly what the president was saying in your "quote". So if you were trying to be sarcastic, all you did was make yourself look stupid.

    August 4, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Janet

    Just more proof that the Republicans care about nothing except defeating President Obama. Hello? This is the Olympics. It is the biggest sporting event in the world and they should take a moment to focus on the world's athletic stage and congratulate and acknowledge the fantastic job our athletes are doing in London. Go USA! Go Barack Obama!

    August 4, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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