First lady: Leading US in Opening Ceremony will be 'humbling'

First lady Michelle Obama is hosting an Olympic version of her "Let's Move" campaign and tells TODAY's Al Roker that attending the Games is a proud moment for her after growing in a neighborhood where sports brought the community together

The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics is just hours away, and Michelle Obama is in London not just to enjoy the festivities, but also lend them her star power in the hope that the Games will inspire kids to become involved in sports. TODAY’s Al Roker caught up with the first lady at the Winfield House, the U.S. Ambassador’s home in London, where she hosted an event for Let's Move!. 

“This is a lot of fun,” she said. “We invited U.S. military families here as well as kids from the U.K. who normally wouldn't have access to the Olympic Games. The U.S. Ambassador opened up his yard and we've had games, we've had David Beckham out here, had a number of the U.S. athletes, the current and former Olympians here, and we've just been playing on the lawn."

The first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative is dedicated to tackling the problem of childhood obesity so children will grow up happier, healthier and able to pursue their dreams.  

The event hosted 1,500 kids who spent the afternoon at a plethora of activities and sports stations, which included a round of tennis with the United States Tennis Association and soccer with English team Manchester United. A marching band and DJ kept everybody going. Athletes in attendance included not only soccer superstar Beckham, but also such Olympic medalists as gymnast Dominique Dawes, Paralympic javelin thrower Gabriel Diaz de Leon, and soccer player Brandi Chastain. 

The first lady has been a fan of the Olympics for a lifetime. “I don't think I'm different from any other kid in the country growing up,” she said. “The Olympics was it.” She said that she grew up watching sports, especially with her father, whose own athletic activities were curtailed by multiple sclerosis.

“Sports and the ability to watch sports was really all he had, so it meant a lot to the family,” the first lady told Roker. “Now being able to meet some of these Paralympians who are doing so much, and pushing through, and being inspiring to other kids of all abilities, is truly an amazing thing to see.”

Tonight the first lady will lead the U.S. delegation in the Opening Ceremony. “It will be awe-inspiring for me. It will be humbling,” she said. “I've never been to an Olympics before, and to go from never attending an Olympics to heading the U.S. delegation will be a proud moment for me personally. And I know it's going to be exciting for everyone.” 

Once the Games begin, Mrs. Obama is hoping to see some tennis and swimming and possibly a little basketball; her husband is a known hoops fan. Since his duties as Commander in Chief will preclude his attending the Games, “He is so jealous of me right now,” she said.

Roker asked the first lady to weigh in on the match-up that has become the talk of the games. Who will do better in swimming: Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte?

“Oh, my goodness,” she exclaimed. “No way. I'm not going for that. Go Team USA!”

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Discuss this post

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Laura Bush did lead the US delegation in 2006... as did Hilary Clinton in 1994.

They do not lead in the athletes... this year the flag bearer is Fencer Fencer Mariel Zagunis. Mariel leads in the athletes this year.

  • 8 votes
Reply#33 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:30 PM EDT

And I was very proud of them.

  • 5 votes
#33.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:59 PM EDT

Stevie, where in the world did you ever get that idea that 1st lady could shed a favorable light?

When has she ever? She's not what you think. She's a freeloader along with the rest of the family.

  • 3 votes
Reply#34 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:48 PM EDT


    #34.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:53 PM EDT


    I really do not know how to respond to your post. But I have to wonder if you ever had a good day in your life.

    • 5 votes
    #34.2 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:10 PM EDT

    Patricia, Patricia, Patricia,

    Your racist tendencies are oozing out of your... I can only inagine where you get your information from. I feel sorry for the children in your life. I have to ask the same question that Stevie-445471 asked, have you ever had a good day in your life? I have to further ask you if you can find anything good to say about anyone? Oh, I get it, you've got this self-loathing thing going on. You must be a very lonely and miserable person. Don't forget that the ceremonies begin at 7:30 PM. :)

    • 6 votes
    #34.3 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:46 PM EDT

    Again @RobertSims56 Hate MONGER extriodenaire. You post more accusations and personal attacks at fellow posters without one shred of proof!

    Do you realize how ignorant, and hateful YOU are sounding? Do you?

    Time for YOU to GROW UP, and act like a MAN instead of a spoiled CHILD!

      #34.4 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:53 PM EDT

      @debratae you and Patricia Larsen must come from the same nasty mold that made you two. You have some nerve call Robert Sims56 a hatemonger. He made no such statement. You two women are the only Hate Mongers in this. Stevie-445471 is right, but neither one of you must lead happy lives. I feel sorry for you.

      • 2 votes
      #34.5 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:16 PM EDT

      Mrs. Obama is not there to take away anything from the athletes. She is there only to bring support to them.

      This is the athletes' moment and she is there only to cheer them on.

      • 6 votes
      Reply#35 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:51 PM EDT

      It states right in the article that she is there to promote her program of exercising children against obesity. Doesnt say one word about her being there to support the athletes.

      • 3 votes
      #35.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:22 PM EDT

      What a load of Crap and everyone knows it!

      • 1 vote
      Reply#36 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:53 PM EDT

      What a load of Crap and everyone who is unable to form a cognitive thought knows it!

      There, fixed it for ya.

      • 3 votes
      #36.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:47 PM EDT

      for you morons out there that don't know any better or don't bother to research anything but only react because you dislike/hate obama/blacks/your own grandmother???....LAURA BUSH LED THE U S DELEGATION IN 2006 AND HILLARY CLINTON IN 1994...THE ATHLETES CARRY THE FLAG..try reading/thinking occasionally or is that beyond your capabilities??? try to enjoy the olympics and put your tea party hats aside for a few days

      • 7 votes
      Reply#37 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:57 PM EDT

      Actually, it is way beyond their capabilities. Between their inferior intellect and racist tendencies, I'm suprised they can even get by in today's world. Kind of sad, really.

      • 4 votes
      #37.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:30 PM EDT

      I was so thinking that same thing Bob. :)

      • 2 votes
      #37.2 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:17 PM EDT

      I looked it up. The only NON- athlete to ever carry the flag for the U.S. was in 1928, and Godfey Dewey was the President of the Lake Placid Organizing Committee. Almost OK but it was the 1920's.

      I also saw that Mariel Zagunis (fencing) is listed as leading the U.S. delegation and carrying our flag.

      Maybe Obama is leading the Paralympics?

      • 3 votes
      Reply#38 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:00 PM EDT

      Heaven help the Queen. And I am sure that what ever costume MO decides to dress up in will still be inappropriate for a presidents wife and an embarrassment to the USA. Remember the black widow dress?The lady has no taste or fashion sense.

        Reply#39 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:06 PM EDT

        Go back to your daycare, Patricia Larsen. Let the grown ups handle this.

        • 5 votes
        #39.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:31 PM EDT

        Patricia runs a daycare?! OMG please no!!! She will surely teach them bad ways. Just like she is sure that Michelle will so called embarrass the USA. What a nasty witch. @Patricia Larsen the only embarrassment to the USA is you!!!

        P.S. Teacher leave those kids alone.

        • 3 votes
        #39.2 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:22 PM EDT

        It was reported this week that Michelle LOOOOVES David Beckhams underpants, and that she makes Barack wear them. Then just now in the British media is a picture of her with... David Beckham at an Olympic event in London.

        Maybe she will be able to have a look at what he has to offer while she is over there. He might be bringing out something she hasn't seen before that she might like.

          Reply#40 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 PM EDT

          What gives her the right to lead the US team in the ceremonial parade of athletes? The athletes have worked their entire lives for the right to participate in the parade. All lady Obama has done is ride the coat tail of her pathetic excuse of a president-husband of hers.

          • 1 vote
          Reply#41 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:26 PM EDT

          She didn't lead the athletes. The article mislead everyone about 'her role'. If anyone is to blame here, it's the ones who 'broke this story' and mislead everyone about the role Michelle was to play.

          • 2 votes
          #41.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:57 PM EDT

          I bet there will be numerous boos throughtout the stadium when the US team is announced to be lead by Mrs. Obama! If I was there, I'd be among those booing HER, not the US team.

          • 1 vote
          Reply#42 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:28 PM EDT

          Are you kidding me? Why is this pig leading out countries athletes? How about our best athlete ever, Carl Lewis? My god, this is disgusting

            Reply#43 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:06 PM EDT

            She didn't lead the team. NBC/Todayshow mislead the public as to Michelle's role.

            • 2 votes
            #43.1 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:58 PM EDT

            I certainly hope it is humbling - Michelle could use a little humility.

              Reply#44 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:06 PM EDT

              Yet ANOTHER tax-payer funded VACATION for Michelle & the girls? Is Barry going to join them? There's nothing like understanding what it's like to be a "real person"

              • 1 vote
              Reply#45 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:05 PM EDT

              Traditionally, all first ladies choose a platform or cause - Lady Bird's highway beautification and Laura Bush's focus on childhood reading. Ms. Obama is working on childhood obesity and encouraging a healthier America that eats better and moves more. As such, her Let's Move program fits in beautifully with the Olympics. Also, the real leader of the group is the flag bearer, and that will be a two time gold medal winning woman fencer who was voted by all the athletes into that place of honor. After that, there have been some Olympic officials, coaches, and then the athletes - not sure if any mayors etc have walked before, but I know it is not a precedent that people other than athletes have walked with the group. I suspect the US Olympic committee asked Ms. Obama to walk since her platform is athletics. And the woman is ripped - she is in fantastic shape and a wonderful example to all of us.

              • 4 votes
              Reply#46 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:05 PM EDT

              BBonnet, Thank You for your post.

              What a wonderful thing. I can not imagine any one on the team, would feel anything but pride, as America should be as well. >:o): I AM!!!

              And, what an honor, and YES, a humbling experience for Ms. Obama.

              I wish her and ALL TEAM USA the best.

              GO USA !!!!!

              Much Love n Blessings,

              Da Pup


              • 3 votes
              #46.1 - Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:03 AM EDT

              For all of you jealous folks out there who have a problem with the First Lady being a part of the opening ceremonies, I bet you would do back flips to be in here shoes. Stop showing your true colors and enjoy the games.

              • 3 votes
              Reply#47 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:08 PM EDT

              again with the personal attacks. again you play the race card. and now you are falsely accusing everyone who dares to disagree with your lies, your bigotry, your racism, your hypocrisy and your stupidity ..........jealous?

              grow up liar!

                #47.1 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:09 AM EDT

                @Robert how debrarae take what you say as a personal offense and calls you a racist, I will never know. She is the only the problem of " personal attacks. again you play the race card. and now you are falsely accusing everyone who dares to disagree with your lies, your bigotry, your racism, your hypocrisy and your stupidity ..........jealous? Apparently she was looking in a mirror when she was typing her rhetoric.

                • 1 vote
                #47.2 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:30 PM EDT

                Actually for you Michelle it will be "bumbling"!

                Remember, you're the one who could not be proud of America just a few years ago!

                • 4 votes
                Reply#48 - Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:19 PM EDT

                This entire thread shows just how uneducated most are about topics they obviously know nothing about. If any of you did any research, you would have known that Mrs. Obama was not leading the US athletes into the arena. MSNBC/NBC competely titled this story incorrectly and most of you didn't bother to find out exactly her role. No intelligence whatsoever. I'm sure many who offered disgusting comments will not take any of it back or admit being wrong, but one can only hope. Amazing the internet has allowed many to hide behind a computer and say nasty things about another human being. MSNBC/NBC you too should be ashame.

                • 8 votes
                Reply#49 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:13 AM EDT

                @peggyb, unfortunately people won't admit they are wrong. They are only concerned with being as mean and nasty as possible. It takes a real adult to admit their mistakes. And for all their claims that others are only children and have no idea what they are talking about proves it.

                  #49.1 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:35 PM EDT

                  Election year campaigning, much? Wow. I am tired of Michelle Obama and her 'fabulosity'.

                  Did the team get led by the female fencing competitor? Or was Michelle down there with the team, as this article states?

                    Reply#50 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:07 PM EDT

                    did you watch the opening ceremony? if so, you would have your answer - geez.

                    • 3 votes
                    #50.1 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:39 PM EDT

                    No he didn't or he wouldn't have opened mouth and inserted foot.

                    • 2 votes
                    #50.2 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:37 PM EDT

                    It goes to show that the First Lady and the President are on the side of those who struggle, who know how to work hard to make ends meet, regardless who we are, where we are from, what orientation we have, what religion we have. They are so successful to me and so is the country!

                    • 2 votes
                    Reply#51 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:43 PM EDT

                    Unbelievable and sad that so many posts chose to misinterpret this story in order to criticize the FLOTUS. She will not be leading the delegation of ATHLETHES but the delegation of non-athletes that most large countries send to attend the opening ceremonies and who SIT IN THE STANDS. It is not unusual for a head of state or their spouse to lead such a delegation. A quick search of the internet would have cleared this up quickly but instead most people chose to interpret this as her leading the athletes as flag bearer which is an honor reserved for athletes.

                    • 3 votes
                    Reply#52 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:43 PM EDT

                    shame on you MSNBC and Jillian for such a poorly worded misleading headline. I would expect this from Fox but not MSNBC

                    • 2 votes
                    Reply#53 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:49 PM EDT

                    The angry black woman.

                    • 1 vote
                    Reply#54 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:16 PM EDT

                    I love that Michelle Obama is going to be representing our country. I love the fact that there are more girls in the Olympics this year! Except for the 20% of Americans who apparently have forgotten how to be true Americans, and write nasty little comments, the rest of us are proud of our country and our PRESIDENT!!!! Go USA!!! I'm proud to be an American for at least I know I FREE!!!!!!

                    • 2 votes
                    Reply#55 - Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:19 PM EDT

                    Just ANOTHER excuse to take a vacation that somebody else pays for ! She's never been involved in sports before this, so there's NO WAY she should have been given the honor.

                      Reply#56 - Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:55 AM EDT

                      G O P Goofballs

                      LEAD...means support

                      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.

                      You crazy NAY SAYERS can't understand the simplest statements.

                      She is LEADING the US DELEGATION to support the Olympians...just like other First Ladies Did.

                      • 1 vote
                      #56.1 - Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:38 PM EDT

                      Why does it always have to be about the Obama's. Always I, I, I. Should have been an athlete or coach. "Proud and humbling" she says. Yes, and I remember when she finally said she was proud to be an American....not all that long ago. Shame on whoever chose her to lead the delegation. GO TEAM U.S.A.

                      • 1 vote
                      Reply#57 - Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:20 PM EDT

                      It's amazing how some people (Robin) can even tie their shoes. "Should have been a coach or athelete". It was, brain trust. Perhaps you should get the facts before spouting your inane comments.

                      • 1 vote
                      #57.1 - Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:44 AM EDT
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