- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
First lady takes obesity fight to summit
Question of the Day
DALLAS — Men with earpieces and dark suits, two metal detectors and a bomb-sniffing dog whose wet nose dribbled on the marble floor stood outside the Hilton Anatoles Grand Ballroom on Monday.
Air conditioning blasted inside the cave-like ballroom. Twenty-eight Olympians fidgeted on stage, wearing red, white and blue T-shirts, polos and jackets as they were positioned by a press officer.
They faced 40 television cameras, hundreds of media members and a bundle of nerves named Natalie Coughlin at the microphone. The 11-time Olympic medalist swimmer was no stranger to the spotlight she stood under. But introducing Obama made Coughlin stumble over her words.
“I am so nervous right now,” she blurted into the microphone.
Then Obama, who will lead the U.S. presidential delegation to London for the opening ceremonies on July 27, strode onto the stage.
Obama visited the second day of the three-day conference of over 100 Olympic hopefuls to promote her “Let’s Play!” program that combats childhood obesity. Ten governing bodies for sports, including the U.S. Olympic Committee committed to offering beginner athletic programs to 1.7 million children in 2012.
Obama recalled growing up enthralled by the exploits of Olympians such as Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton on television.
“You can tell when you first meet these folks within one meeting,” Obama said, “there’s a special something there.”
Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long, raised in Baltimore, was singled out by Obama for her determination to stay active despite both legs being amputated when she was 18 months old.
Around eight minutes and a flurry of handshakes (and one hug to sprinter Allyson Felix) later, the first lady was gone. Smiles and cellphone photos followed her wake.
“Just because you’re missing a leg or an arm doesn’t mean you should feel weird,” Long said.
Soaring music — horns and drums — thumped in the ballroom. Outside, the metal detectors came down. The bomb-sniffing dog’s crate appeared.
The interviews and photo shoots that comprise the summit prepared to resume. And Gabrielle Douglas, a tiny gymnast from Virginia Beach who stood on the stage, looked stunned.
“I didn’t think she was that tall,” the 5-foot Douglas said of Obama.
“All of it was so shocking.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Declassified cables from Berlin Wall tell tale of drama, dare,
- Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit
- Jay Gruden's long and winding road to Washington
- FENNO: Championship game provides an opportunity to listen to those who play
- FENNO: For Redskins, nonsensical is the new normal
Latest Blog Entries
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq