MRS. OBAMA: Good afternoon, everyone.

AUDIENCE: Good afternoon!

MRS. OBAMA: Awww. (Laughter.) We're thrilled to welcome all of you to the White House today as we honor some of America's top Olympic and Paralympic athletes and express our excitement about the opportunity to host the 2016 Summer Olympic/Paralympic Games.

I want to thank Mayor Daley for that warm and heartfelt introduction, but I also want to thank him for his outstanding work to prepare Chicago's bid, and for his visionary leadership to move a city to great places, a city that is so near and dear to my heart, to our hearts, to the Obama family.

And I want to say a special hello to all these wonderful young people who are here that so politely said hello to me -- (laughter) -- who've come here from our local schools in our area. Hey, guys.


MRS. OBAMA: Hey! I think it's safe to say that everyone here is really feeling the Olympic spirit today, right?


MRS. OBAMA: That's right. (Applause.) Yeah! We can do this. (Applause.) And I know that we are pretty eager to see some judo, right? We're going to see some gymnastics today. And what else? Fencing. You should have seen the President in there fencing. (Laughter.) It was pathetic. (Laughter.) But he passed the baton really well.

And I want to recognize the Olympians, the Paralympians, and the coaches -- not just for their extraordinary athletic achievements, but also for taking the time to inspire young people today here at the White House, and every day communities across this nation. You all make us so proud.

As we can see from today's event, the Olympics isn't just about what happens in one city every two or four years. It's not just about those weeks when we watch the greatest athletes in the world push themselves to new heights of achievement. It's also about how a nation is transformed during the years leading up to the Games, and it's also about the legacy that lasts in those cities long after the closing ceremonies are over.

The Olympic charter states that, by "blending sport with culture and education," the Olympics aims "to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example."

And that's what I'm reminded of today -- how the Olympic Games teach important lessons and set an important example for so many young people.

I'm reminded of the commitment to excellence that the Games embody -- the belief that no matter where you're from, or what your background is, that if you dream big enough and work hard enough, ther/e are no limits to what you can achieve.

I'm reminded of the lifestyles that the Games promote -- the commitment to physical activity and nutrition that are so important for a healthy life, and that we're working so hard for to reach in this nation.

I'm reminded of the mission of the Paralympic Games that it fulfills, opening the highest levels of athletic competition to anyone with the talent and drive to succeed -- men and women who refuse to let their disabilities limit their horizons.

And I'm reminded of the example of citizenship and service our Olympic and Paralympic athletes are setting every day all across the country. More than 2,500 of those athletes have already signed up to be athletic ambassadors for Chicago 2016's World Sport Chicago Initiative. They're committing to work as coaches and mentors, and holding sports clinics to encourage young people to stay active. They've already reached more than 30,000 children in just Chicago alone. And they're planning to take this initiative across the nation, including right here in D.C. What you guys were doing today -- you went out to some of our local schools and you talked to young people about what's important about athletics and nutrition.

I re-did the section in bold so the credit would be emphasized on the real subject. Our president, much like Bill Clinton can be VERY long winded.

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