March 14, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama has spent the past three years campaigning against childhood obesity and encouraging increased physical activity for children. This week, she got some help from the wife of the British Prime Minister, at a children’s event keyed to the upcoming 2012 summer Olympics.
Since this year's Olympic Games are in London, Obama's British counterpart, Samantha Cameron, provided a natural tie-in, as the U.S. First Lady hosted a mini-Olympic competition with Washington-area children at a local university.
The event was also a way for Obama to spotlight her "Let's Move" initiative, a campaign to promote fitness and healthy eating habits.
“Moving isn't just being a part of a sport. Moving can be dancing in the living room, it can be riding your bike, it can be walking your dog," Obama said.
Obama also announced she will lead the U.S. presidential delegation to the London Olympics.
As she and Cameron moved around the venue, Obama couldn't resist playing a little tennis with the kids.
There were also Olympians and Paralympians on hand.
Four-time gold medalist Lisa Leslie was helping with basketball. "I think with kids, just to be inspired and have our attention is enough. That's what I learned from them and what they learned from me is keep working, keep shooting and you never give up," she said.
Dan O'Brien won the Olympic decathlon in 1996. But he reminded the kids that not everyone wins a gold medal -- the important thing is trying your best. Deep down, he said, he knows kids want to stay physically active.
“You hear so often that kids sit around playing video game or on the computer, you know what? These kids today, they wanted to get up, they wanted to move, and there are a lot more kids out there like that,” he said.
Kortney Clemens lost his leg in Iraq. But two years later, he became a national champion sprinter. He is the first Iraq War veteran to qualify for the national Paralympic team.
“If we get these kids in a habit of eating right and being physically active, when they grow up, they may not have as many medical issues," Clemen said.
Fifth-grader Kelvin Flowers says he learned a valuable lesson from the experience.
“That I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” Flowers said.
Lacey McCormick is also a fifth grader. “I think the most exciting part was working as a team and getting to be able to move.” she said.
At the end of the day, the children had their efforts rewarded with medals. And fifth-grader Nick Beatrice said he also had a message to take back to his classmates: "Let's move."