Remarks to United States Olympic Athletes
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
February 8, 2002
5:10 P.M. MST
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.)