You could hear the city sounds with cars beeping and people conversing amongst the streets . This wasn’t the blistering sun of Copacabana beach, at least not yet.
Instead, in a frosty spring morning, Team USA was starting to celebrate what was not an accomplishment but a preparation for something grander and more memorable to come.
Joined by the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, Team USA kicked off the 100 Days To Rio celebrations in an event promoted by NBCUniversal and the U.S. Olympic Committee featuring more than 75 athletes who will be competing this summer at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“It’s not that we’re just proudly representing the United States to the rest of the world, which I know these Olympians will do so well.” Said the First Lady. “But the Olympics are also about inspiring young people here at home. Truly to get them active and to live up to the example that our Olympic and Paralympic athletes have always set with their dedication, their determination, and their unyielding commitment to excellence.
Obama also emphasized on the importance of the Olympics being an incentive to motivate young fans into practicing sports, alluding to the “Let’s Move” program, an initiative against obesity in which she started in 2010.
“We want to show our young people that if they work hard enough, and if they dream big enough, they can achieve what they want. And these men and women are really the best role models for our kids. So we don’t just want our young people to watch them, we want them to try these sports themselves!”
And so they did. With numerous fun demonstrations like Paralympic racing in simulated wheelchairs to fencing demonstrations the event highlighted many events that might be obscure to the common viewer while showing that our athletes are more than ready to bring home the gold.
With Olympic gold medalists present such as diver David Boudia and to first-time Olympian boxer Shakur Stevenson, the celebration was pure enjoyment for fans and any by-standers who happened to be wondering the city as the clouds opened up, inviting the sun to Times Square and the rest of the world to Rio.
Gene Auriemma, women’s basketball coach who led the team to Olympic gold in London proudly stated, “I know every one of the players and every one of the ‘team behind the team’ are really anxious for the games. This is some of the greatest times in these people’s lives and they don’t take this opportunity lightly.”
For athletes like Burroughs and soccer star Kelley O’Hara, the chase for the double gold is even more electrifying the second time around as August 5th nears.
“America’s truly a melting pot of amazing people, culture, and athletes.” said Jordan Burroughs. “That’s what I love about the sport. We all come together, we’re Team USA. and our commonality is that we wanna win. Not just win, but dominate and win gold medals.”
The event went on all day, with a special performance by The Band Perry, who wrote the official USA Olympic song, “Live Forever” as well as a special lighting of the iconic Empire State Building, in the Team USA’s classic red, white and blue colors.
“I am a fan, I’m ready for this, I want the country to start gearing up for the Olympics like we used to when we were little, I want everybody glued to the TV, trying out sports, thinking about getting up off that couch, competing with your neighbor, but most importantly cheering these men and women on.” finished Obama with a giant gold smile on her face.
Montclair State | New Jersey