The President. Members
of the Cabinet and distinguished guests, and athletes and coaches, and ladies
and gentlemen. I want to welcome all of you to the White House today as
we honor and welcome home our victorious summer Olympic team. You know, with so
many successful athletes here, I kind of expect a camera crew from Walt Disney
to run up and ask me what I plan to do next. [Laughter] But seriously, this
team showed the world that
As you athletes know, some of the credit goes to your parents and families, the people who've stood by you through all those long hours of training. Maybe it was a father who rose before sunrise to drive you to practice or a mother who skimped and saved so a young athlete could train. Or it may simply have been a sister or brother providing a strong word of encouragement in a moment of self-doubt. Whichever the case may be, they also deserve our heartfelt thanks.
When all is said and done, the most important accomplishment of all was the many hours of training that each of you endured. Your personal dedication to being the very best that you can be, achieving the highest level of physical and mental perfection, guided you through those many hours, days, and years of practice. And when your time came, and with the world watching, you crystallized those many hours and sacrifices into glorious moments. And if everything came together, you stood on the medal platform holding your head high as the ``Star Spangled Banner'' rang out in triumph. And if you didn't come home wearing a medal you still were every bit a hero. Just to make it to the level of Olympic competition is one of the greatest achievements a human being can attain in a lifetime. And I mean performing with grit and determination, as all of you here have done.
relying on drugs or banned substances, you set a fine example for the youth of
I don't measure the success of our Olympic teams only by the tally of medals
they bring home. I believe people who go out and give their all in fair and
competitive sport are winners. In
these Olympics were a triumph for our hosts in the
hope these games will be remembered for the poignancy of the closing ceremony,
that heartfelt scene of camaraderie as thousands of athletes from around the
world exchanged gifts, danced together, and bid farewell to one another. One
observer described this mass of friendship as ``swirling together in a sea of
international revelry.'' And right there in the middle of this sea marched you,
our hearts are still swelling for some very important people who are right now
now we're setting our sights on
Helmick. Mr. President, as president of the United
States Olympic Committee, it's my pleasure to thank you very much for welcoming
this team. And as you said, we have 611 heroes here. There are 611 stories of
sacrifice -- sacrifice of time; sacrifice of the relationship with their
families as they're practicing and training; and, yes, even economic sacrifice,
because these athletes and their families have to dig down into their own
resources to help train. And that's why I want to give a special thanks to the
President and the Congress for the Olympic Coin Act. The money from that is a donation
to the United States Olympic Committee as the American people buy these coins.
And that money is earmarked to go directly to help relieve some of the economic
sacrifice these athletes must go through. So, please accept our thanks, Mr.
President, the Congress, the American people, for your support of our
Mr. Biondi. Good afternoon, guests and Mr. President. My name is Matt Biondi, and I was a swimmer. [Laughter] I'd like to introduce to you some of my distinguished teammates from the Olympic team: swimming champion, Janet Evans; boxing champion, Andrew Maynard; kayak champion, Greg Barton; and the track and field queen of the sprints, Florence Griffith Joyner. On behalf of the athletes attending the White House reception, I would like to say how great it is to be here in this city to receive the warm welcome and to enjoy each other's company on a less competitive circumstance.
I look at what we've done as athletes in Korea as a gift -- the days, the hours, the time that we spent dedicated to our sport training -- a gift that we tried to open in Korea for ourselves, for our sports, and most importantly, for our country. And to come back to the States and to see that the gift was so well-received, with smiles, handshakes, and warm gestures, makes us feel really warm inside. And as athletes, the performance is what we try to give, and to have it so well-received makes us feel really nice. And we want to thank you for that warm reception.
way to show our appreciation for the support of our country is to offer a gift
from our team to the President. Mr. President, we know you are familiar with
this style of hat from your western films you've made, but this is a special
one. The pins on the brim make it a lasting and unique memory of all the
struggles and triumph that each athlete faced while participating for the
The President. Well, now, all of you in this group prepare to smile, say cheese, and remain motionless. And a couple of us are going to join you up there. And then we're going to have a photograph of the whole group, the whole team. I think I'll have to take my hat off for that. [Laughter]
Note: The President spoke at on the South Lawn at the White House.