LONDON (AP) — Michelle Obama formally opened her stint as leader of the U.S. Olympics delegation on Friday, attending a breakfast with Olympians and saying she was "just in awe" of their company.
The U.S. first lady mingled with the U.S. athletes afterward, posing for photos, shaking hands and sharing hugs with dozens who had signed up to attend.
"Try to have fun. Try to breathe a little bit," Mrs. Obama said. "But also win, right?"
The first lady had a busy itinerary Friday, including promoting healthy living with more than 1,000 children, a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and then the opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium.
She told the U.S. athletes that some of her fondest memories in sports stemmed from watching the Olympics on television. She also shared the story of her father, who was athletic but contracted multiple sclerosis "in the prime of his life."
"He retained his love of sports, truly," Mrs. Obama told the athletes. "And the Olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage."
"Every few years, these games bring pride, excitement and wonder to millions of people around the world. And that must mean so much to all of you," she added.
Later, the first lady met with hundreds of children on the lavish grounds of Winfield House, the official residence of the U.S. ambassador in London.
As the University of Florida Gator marching band paraded and twirled batons, children hurried between sports areas and mingled with athletes.
Soccer hero David Beckham appeared alongside the first lady, Olympic gold-medal sprinter Carl Lewis signed autographs, and ex-NBA star Dikembe Mutombo offered the kids — most of them from U.S. military families — tips on basketball.
A former Manchester United goalkeeper and members of the U.S. field hockey and tennis squads also ran training sessions for the children, aged nine to 14.
The event was part of the first lady's "Let's Move!" campaign, aimed at tackling childhood obesity and promoting sports.
"I think this is amazing and what the first lady has done to get kids to move is truly wonderful," said Lewis. "Both she and the president love the Olympics and the Olympic movement."
Student Ethen Duval, originally from Oklahoma, sharpened his skills at the soccer camp.
"I'm looking forward to watching the Olympic soccer," said the 10-year-old, who lives at Lakenheath U.S. Air Force Base in Britain. "I can't wait to watch things with my Dad and see the look on his face when something exciting happens and he says 'Wow!'"
The 46-year-old Mutombo towered above his young pupils, who were eager for the Olympics to begin.
"They are mostly excited about the basketball," he joked.
The breakfast took place at the University of East London, where the U.S. Olympic Committee has established a full training facility that will host hundreds of athletes during the games.
Among the Olympians attending were two-time fencing gold medalist Mariel Zagunis, chosen by U.S. athletes to carry the nation's flag into the opening ceremony, along with the U.S. women's basketball team and members of the track and field squad.
Mrs. Obama appeared with several past U.S. Olympic and Paralympic standouts, including Brandi Chastain, Gabriel Diaz de Leon, Grant Hill, Summer Sanders and Dominique Dawes.
"Being here is otherworldly for me," the first lady said. "I am still so inspired."
On Saturday, Mrs. Obama will meet with Samantha Cameron, the wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron, before watching U.S. athletes on the first full day of Olympic competition. She will see more events Sunday before departing.
Other first ladies who have led recent U.S. Olympic delegations include Hillary Clinton at Lillehammer in 1994 and Laura Bush at Turin in 2006.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30