When you watch these Games, remember that it’s about so much more than the moments going by in a flash. Think about the countless hours these athletes put in, knowing it could mean the difference in a split-second victory that earns them a lifetime of pride, and gives us enduring memories. It’s about the character it takes to train your heart out, even when no one’s watching. Just hard work, focus, and a dream. That’s the Olympic spirit – and it’s the American spirit, too
In our Olympians, we recognize that no one accomplishes greatness alone. Even solo athletes have a coach beside them and a country behind them. In a season of intense politics, let’s cherish this opportunity to come together around one flag. In a time of challenge around the world, let’s appreciate the peaceful competition and sportsmanship we’ll see, the hugs and high-fives and the empathy and understanding between rivals who know we share a common humanity. Let’s honor the courage it takes, not only to cross the finish line first, but merely to stand in the starting blocks. And let’s see in ourselves the example they set – proving that no matter where you’re from, with determination and discipline, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
That idea – that you can succeed no matter where you’re from – is especially true this year. We’ll cheer on athletes on the first-ever Olympic Refugee Team: Ten competitors from the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Syria who personify endurance.
To all of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes wearing the red, white, and blue – know that your country couldn’t be prouder of you. We admire all the work you’ve done to get to Rio and everything you’ll do there. Thank you for showing the world the best of America. And know that when you get up on that podium, we’ll be singing the National Anthem – and maybe even shedding a tear – right alongside you.
Now go bring home the gold!