Print and Go Back More Sports

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Michelle Obama hosts mini-Olympics for D.C. kids

By Melissa Jacobs

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The Olympic flame for the London Summer Games will be lit in late July with the first lady leading the official U.S. delegation to the opening ceremonies.

Michelle Obama started the celebration early on Tuesday when she hosted a mini-Olympic competition with physical activities for D.C.-area children at American University. The competition is part of her Let's Move! initiative promoting fitness and healthy eating.

"Let's Move! is all about getting people up to move and we want to use these [Olympic] games to jump-start people into moving," Obama said. "Moving can be dancing in your living room. It can be riding your bike. It can be walking your dog."

Obama was joined by former and soon-to-be Olympians Lisa Leslie, Dominique Dawes, Dan O'Brien and Paralympian Kortney Clemons, who lost his leg in a Baghdad roadside bombing in 2005 while serving in the Army. Britain's first lady Samantha Cameron, who is in the United States on a two-day visit with her husband Prime Minister David Cameron, was also on hand.

The mini-Olympics were aimed at educating the fifth-grade participants about the Olympic spirit in relation to Obama's Let's Move! initiative.

"It's not about which country wins the most medals," Obama said. "Instead the Olympic games are about commitment."

Let's Move! was launched by the first lady in 2010 to help combat childhood obesity. According to, obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades and in African American and Hispanic communities nearly 40 percent of children are overweight.

Obama and her team of Let's Move! ambassadors, which include Dawes and Drew Brees, speak regularly to children about the importance of good nutrition and exercise.

The mini-Olympics Tuesday let children participate in basketball drills with four-time gold medalist Leslie, soccer drills with Team USA midfielder Lori Lindsey and tennis drills with 1996 Wimbledon runner-up MaliVai Washington. The first lady, known for her athletic prowess, participated in a volley session with children who happened to be at the tennis station at the time.