Obama’s Weekly Address: Olympians’ ‘Unconquerable’ American Spirit

Aug 4, 2012 6:00am

President Obama sidestepped politics in his weekly address today, instead focusing on  “something that’s brought us all together this week,” the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“These games remind us that for all our differences, we’re Americans first,” the president said, “And we could not be prouder of the men and women representing our country in London, in both the Olympics and in the Paralympics.”

Last week first lady Michelle Obama led the U.S. delegation at the ongoing events. In addition to cheering the festivities, Mrs. Obama met with Queen Elizabeth, Samantha Cameron, and military families attending the games.

The president admitted he “was a little jealous she got to go.  But like many of you, I caught as many events as I could, jumping off the couch for a close race, or a perfect vault.”

After praising the accomplishments of the gymnasts and the women’s soccer teams, Obama stepped back to recognize the less publicized sports, including skeet shooting, and a first ever gold in judo for the Americans, by Kayla Harrison.

In recent campaign events the president has told supporters he’d been calling Olympians to congratulate them on their wins, including swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Gabby Douglas.

“I also thought of the truly difficult journeys that many of our athletes have made,” he continued.  “Some have faced personal loss, or beaten cancer.  Some have worked long shifts at multiple jobs to feed their Olympic dream. ”

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

He singled out two for having “done the impossible” to reach for gold: Bryshon Nellum and Lopez Lomong. Nellum survived multiple gun shot wounds to the legs four years ago, to move on to compete in the 400 meter dash. Lomong, a Sudanese refugee and one of the “Lost Boys,” had fled that country to become a U.S. citizen and represent the nation twice in track and field.

Concluding that “it’s not the medal count alone that inspires us,” Obama put the credit on “dogged perseverance,” practice, and sacrifice of the team.

“We are one people, with common values and ideals,” he said. “We celebrate individual excellence, but recognize that only together can we accomplish great and important things we cannot accomplish alone.”

The president called it America’s “unconquerable spirit.”

In the Republican response, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor focuses on rebutting the president’s tax proposals, but joins the president in wishing well for the athletes.

“Watching the Olympics this week, I am reminded that one of the things that sets America apart is that ordinary people have the freedom to accomplish extraordinary things,” Cantor states. “Every day I hear from Americans who are ready to do the extraordinary: Open a new business, create new jobs, build a better future for our children and theirs.  All they ask is that Washington get out of the way.”

“While we continue to work to provide solutions here at home, we wish our athletes in London the very best,” he said.

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