Michelle Obama: It's a 'sacrifice' to travel to Europe to pitch for the Olympics. But I'm doing it for the kids. 

In her speech in Copenhagen today, First Lady Michelle Obama said her trip to Denmark, along with the travel of her "dear friend" and "chit-chat buddy" Oprah Winfrey, as well as tomorrow's visit by President Obama, is a "sacrifice" on behalf of the children of Chicago and the United States. "As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the president to come for these few days," the first lady told a crowd of people involved in the Chicago project, "so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home."

"As first lady, as many of you know, I’ve made it a priority to bridge the gap between the White House and communities across D.C. and across the country," Mrs. Obama continued. "I’ve spent much of my first nine months trying to open the doors to the White House to kids who might not otherwise see themselves having access to these institutions, because that’s where I came from – communities like that where kids never dreamed that they could set foot in the White House, let alone live there…And Barack and I made a point of doing the same thing when we lived in Chicago – making the concerns of kids in all sorts of communities our own."

Mrs. Obama said bringing the Olympics to Chicago is especially important right now because "athletics is becoming more of a fleeting opportunity." "Funds dry up so it becomes harder for kids to engage in sports, to learn how to swim, to even ride a bike," she said. In addition, with childhood obesity on the rise, "it is so important for us to raise up the platform of fitness and competition and fair play," the first lady said.

Finally, having the Olympics in Chicago would be important to "let people know that we understand that sports saves lives, that it makes dreams come true, that it creates visions in kids’ heads to make them think they can be the next David Robinson, the next Barack Obama, the next Nadia Comaneci, the next Oprah Winfrey," Mrs. Obama said.

 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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