Team USA Olympics and Paralympic athletes honored at White House ceremony
President Barack Obama admired the discipline and spirit of the gathered male and female athletes of all races, religions and backgrounds who excelled at their work by pushing themselves to the limits.
“You could not have been better ambassadors and better representatives for the United States and what we stand for,” president Barack Obama addressed the athletes. “That’s what sets all of you apart. That’s what sets America apart.”
Around 450 athletes were gathered to attend the ceremonies in honor of their accomplishments this summer. Team USA bagged 104 medals at the London Olympics, which included 46 gold, 29 silver and an equal number of bronze medals. Amongst Team USA’s medal achievers, 27 athletes won in more than one event and 13 athletes laid claim to more than one gold medal at the London Olympics.
“What you guys did was inspire us. You made us proud,” stated president Barack Obama. “You gave us a summer that we will never forget.”
The President was amazed by the Team USA athletes’ dedication to work through “good days and bad” and the ideology to “hand we’ve been dealt in life,” which proves that they have great potential and “no limit to how far we can go.”
This summer’s Paralympics Games, hosted immediately after the 2012 Olympics, drew 2.7 million viewers from across the globe who witnessed the U.S. Paralympics Team finish with 98 medals, which comprised of 31 gold, 29 silver and 39 bronze medals.
Although president Barack Obama expressed he was unable to attend the games due to a hectic routine, he was awestruck by the “humanely impossible” tasks they accomplished, while watching recordings via the DVR during his routine workout each morning at the White House. President Barack Obama revealed each day he was inspired to take his speed up a notch in the treadmill, or lift slightly more weights or even put-in more crunches into his workout.
While applauding the Team USA athletes’ determination and strength of character, president Barack Obama singled out a few shining examples amongst them such as Army veteran Kari Miller, who plays sitting volleyball after having both legs amputated following an accident by a drunk driver. President Barack Obama also bought to the spotlight discus thrower Lance Brooks who trained with a back-breaking 12-hour job on the side, and 15-year-old Olympian Katie Ledecky, who’s training went hand-in-hand with her high school’s English reading assignments.
Afterwards, fencer Mariel Zagunis and Navy veteran Brad Snyder(swimmer), who was blinded in Afghanistan after an improvised explosive device went-off, presented president Barack Obama with the American flag they had taken to the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics.
Brad Snyder, who won the 400m freestyle gold a year after becoming blind was thrilled by the opportunity to serve his country again as a member of Team USA.
“And to bring the flag home to you, the president, is really a privilege,” stated the 28-year-old Brad Snyder.