President and First Lady invite US Olympic and Paralympic teams to White House reception
Friday, 31 August 2012
August 31 - The United States President and First Lady will welcome the American Olympic and Paralympic athletes who competed at London 2012 to the White House for a special reception in their honour on September 14.
It will be the second such reception that Barack Obama (pictured top) has hosted after he invited the US Olympic and Paralympic athletes who competed at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games two years ago.
The visit will be a celebration of the US returning to the top of the Olympic medals table at London 2012 having slipped to second behind China in Beijing four years ago.
The team won a total of 104 medals, including 46 gold.
The party will also further cement the close links that have been forged between the Obama Government and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Michelle Obama led the Presidential delegation at the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 27 and attended both the USOC Media Summit in Dallas in May and Paralympic-style Warrior Games in June, the latter organised by the USOC's Paralympic division.
The President and First Lady were also present at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Copenhagen in October 2009 to help Chicago lobby – ultimately unsuccessfully – for the 2016 Games, which was awarded to Rio.
The reception in a fortnight's time will coincide with the final stages of Obama's Presidential re-election battle with Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who visited the London 2012 Olympics.
Ironically, Romney has also attended a similar Olympic and Paralympic White House reception, following the Salt Lake City 2002 for which he served as President and chief executive, which was hosted by former President George Bush.
Whichever candidate is successful in the November 6 election is likely to play a key role in helping bring back the Olympic and Paralympic Games to America for the first time since those Winter Games with the USOC currently evaluating whether to bid for the 2024 Summer or 2026 Winter Games.
August 2012: USOC names panel to assess potential American Olympic bid
July 2012: US set to bid for 2024 Olympics after ruling out campaign for 2022 Winter Games