Michelle Obama gets U.S. athletes and kids moving

Mon May 14, 2012 7:48pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

DALLAS (Reuters) - Michelle Obama offered a pep talk on Monday to U.S. athletes who will be competing at the 2012 London Olympics while announcing a nationwide program to get more American children active.

The U.S. first lady, who will lead the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony of the July 27-August 12 London Olympics, is hoping the American athletes will inspire children to get active as part of her "Let's Move!" initiative.

Speaking at the United States Olympic Committee's media summit, Obama announced a joint effort with the USOC and 10 sports federations to get 1.7 million American children, not already involved in exercise programs, to commit to beginner level Olympic sports.

"This summer, my hope is that together with our children we can support Team USA not just by cheering them on but by striving to live up to the example they have set," said Obama, flanked by athletes expected to challenge for medals in London.

"In the end some of these athletes will bring home the gold but all of them will make our country proud, all of them will inspire a generation of young people to get active."

With obesity among American children on the rise, Obama has spearheaded efforts to get kids physically fit.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent (or 12.5 million) of all children and adolescents aged two to 19 years old in the United States.

USA Tennis, USA Track and Field and the U.S. Soccer Federation are among the 10 national governing sports bodies hoping to engage hundreds of thousands of children in various programs by the end of the year.   Continued...

Flanked by U.S. Olympic athletes, First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas May 14, 2012. REUTERS/Darrell Byers