London 2012 Team USA Media Summit set to get underway in Dallas
Saturday, 12 May 2012
May 12 - The 2012 Team USA Media Summit, one of the key events organised by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), is set to get underway here tomorrow with hundreds of journalists due to attend a gathering that will feature the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian in history.
The USOC has hosted a media summit during each Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic year since 1988, with previous host cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Houston, New York City and Salt Lake City.
The event this year, which will run until Tuesday (May 15), is set to be the biggest yet with 14-time Olympic champion Phelps set to be joined by the likes of triple 200 metres world champion Allyson Felix, reigning 400m Olympic champion Lashawn Merrit, four-time track cycling world champion Sarah Hammer, 2007 amateur boxing flyweight world champion Rau'shee Warren and T44 Paralympic sprint champion Jerome Singleton.
The USOC leadership team featuring chairman Larry Probst, chief executive Scott Blackmun and Team USA Chef de Mission Teresa Edwards will also be in attendance in what will be the last big media opportunity with Team USA athletes before they go into heavy training for London 2012.
"This exciting event will help connect the media with some of our top Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls who are sure to impress once they hit the world's biggest stage in London," said the USOC chief communications and public affairs officer Patrick Sandusky, who will deliver the keynote speech to delegates.
"They all have unique stories and we're glad the media will be able to share their tales of inspiration.
"Our schedule for the next three days is jam-packed as we cycle 110 athletes through various sessions."
The special visit from the First Lady comes as she will use the event to announce her Let's Move! initiative which aims to solve the problem of childhood obesity by getting more American children involved in sport.
The visit on Monday (May 14), which will see the addition of heavy security implemented at the Hilton Anatole by the United States Secret Service, demonstrates the growing collaboration between the USOC and the First Lady.
Obama (pictured) attended the opening of the USOC's 2012 Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans, at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, while she will be leading the United States delegation at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics on July 27.
The First Lady also gave an emotional speech to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its Session in Copenhagen in October 2009, alongside her husband, President Barack Obama when Chicago were bidding for the 2016 Games, although the American city lost out to Rio de Janeiro.
"We're incredibly honoured to have Mrs Obama join us in Dallas to celebrate the accomplishments of America's finest athletes and announce new ways we can all work together to increase access to sport for young children," said Blackmun.
"The Let's Move! initiative is an important one and something the entire Olympic family in the United States is eager to support."
May 2012: Michelle Obama to appear at Team USA Media Summit in Dallas
March 2012: Michelle Obama to lead US delegation at London 2012 Opening Ceremony
May 2012: Dallas to host London 2012 Team USA summit