President Bush to Olympic Athletes: "Let's Roll", 8 February 2002

President Speaks to Olympic Athletes
HPER Complex
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah

Taking a phone call from an athlete's family, President George W. Bush sits with America's Olympic athletes during the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 8. White House photo by Paul Morse.

5:10 P.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I'm not deserving, but I'm proud to wear this jacket. I want to congratulate our great country's Olympic team. I want to thank you all for your efforts. I want to thank you for your hard work. The whole country is pulling for you and we're really proud of you.

I want to thank all those who've worked to make these Games go well: Mitt Romney, Sandy Baldwin, Lloyd Ward, Dwight Bell, Bernie Machen. I want to thank your coaches and your families.

Today we're joined by three Port Authority Police Officers from New York City: Tony Scannella, Curt Kellinger, Frank Accardi. Where are they? There they are. Thank you all for coming. (Applause.)

And as you know, they brought with them one of the flags that flew in front of the World Trade Center on September the 11th, which will be carried into the Olympic Stadium today. This flag serves as a symbol of this nation's strength, of our resolve, of our determination to fight for freedom. These Games come at a perfect time for the country. In our time of sadness and determination and resolve, our Olympic athletes will represent the best of America. I can't wait for Americans to see our flag fly. It is such a proud moment for all of us. This nation is steadfast and unified and you, the athletes, are going to represent us with such class and dignity and courage.

It's a chance for the world to see that in times of war, we can come together in friendly competition to promote the peace. So not only you represent the greatest nation on the face of the earth, you represent a spirit that is much bigger than evil and terror: you represent peace.

A lot of people are going to be watching you, particularly a lot of kids. You'll become heroes overnight. That's an awesome responsibility. I know you'll handle it with grace. I know you'll set the best example possible.

And so we're here to wish you all the best, to congratulate you. Let's roll. God bless. (Applause.)

END 5:13 P.M. MST

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Last modified: Fri May 9 19:58:57 CDT 2003