President Obama: "No matter what you do, no matter where you end up, you will always know in your heart what it means to be the best there is at what you do. You’ll always know what it’s like to set a goal and then reach it; what it feels like to hit your limit and then go beyond it; to get to the top and turn around and give others a hand." Read the President's full remarks »
Heart of a champion - Blog post from Alex Lasry, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs: President Obama welcomed more than 650 student athletes and 150 coaches to the White House. Read more »
Florida swimmer Gemma Spofforth blogs about White House trip: Spofforth, a British Olympian, shook President Obama's hand. Read more »
The White House Visit - Blog post from Oregon runner Jordan Hasay: As we return home, each of us feel honored and even more motivated to defend our indoor title, and perhaps earn another invitation back to this historic spot. Read more »
Stanford at the White House: Chronicle of the trip by the Stanford men's volleyball and women's tennis teams. Read more »
By Dana Thomas
WASHINGTON — More than 30 NCAA championship teams took over the White House lawn on Monday afternoon. Fueled by cookies and lemonade, the student-athletes’ excitement was hard to contain. Some posed for photos, others took time to get to know their fellow student-athletes.
Once President Obama took the stage, the energy was quite focused. The President offered inspirational words to the student-athletes, thanking them for their contributions to their communities, both on the field and off.
“Now, that term, student-athlete, is the thing that makes me so proud to stand before you here today, because when each of you won the titles that you won – whether it was in lacrosse or gymnastics – (applause) – or wheelchair basketball – (applause) – you didn’t do it as professionals,” President Obama said. “You didn’t have multimillion-dollar contracts or huge endorsement deals. You woke up early; you put in countless hours of practice for the love of the game and for the pride of your school. You rode those buses and you carried those bags because you knew what it was going to take to be the best – and because every one of you has a competitive streak that’s about a mile wide.
“And most impressive of all, you did this while shouldering a full load of classes – sometimes grabbing a few minutes to study in airports or locker rooms – because you understand that student-athlete emphasizes student and not just athlete.”
After his remarks concluded, the President shook as many hands and had as many conversations as time would allow. Waves of student-athletes followed the President as he made his way back to the Oval Office. And all at once, that anxious energy took to the Washington streets and the White House lawn was calm again.
“It’s great that the President recognized these student-athletes for all of the special things they do beyond their athletics achievements,” said NCAA interim president Jim Isch, who attended the event. “The young people at this event were the epitome of student-athletes, achieving in the classroom in addition to excelling in their respective sport.”