(LONDON) — First lady Michelle Obama spoke to members of the U.S. Olympic team on Friday, telling the athletes that she’s thrilled to be in London to cheer them on in person.
“I’m proud to have the chance to cheer you guys on in person for the very first time in my life — in person! At the Olympics! In London! And then I’m gonna be cheering back home too after they send me away,” Mrs. Obama said.
The first lady told the Olympians everybody back home is watching and cheering them on.
“We’re all proud of you all. We really are. You’ve got a country back home who is rooting for you every single second,” she said, adding that they’ll be inspiring millions of kids back home to get off the couch and take up a sport.
“Whatever happens here think of all that you’re gonna be doing for millions of kids. Right this second. Just by the fact that you’ve worked so hard and got here yourselves,” Mrs. Obama said.
Along with the encouragement, the first lady also had one piece of advice for the athletes: “This only happens every few years so, try to have fun, try to breathe a little bit, but also win right? In the end, winning is good.”
The 2012 Olympic Games officially kick off on Friday with an opening ceremony scheduled at 4 p.m. ET. Earlier in the day, Britain’s iconic clock tower chimed non-stop for three minutes to mark the event. It was the first time Big Ben rang outside its normal schedule since 1952, when it rang for the funeral of King George the 6th.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Euan McKirdy and Natalie L. Gallón, CNN
Holly Yan, CNN