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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Ms Obama wanted to do this... lead the U.S.... as an inducment for children to become interested in sports. I had thought that children were always interested in sports/playing/goofing off. Perhaps Ms Obama would have had a smaller stage, but wouldn't her time be more helpful if she was promoting the benefits of education, staying in school and stopping violence? Sports have proven to be an alternative to not getting educated and still earning really big bucks, but Ms Obama should be honest about the odds of making it to that level.

    Reply#60 - Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:46 AM EDT

    Since she was never proud of American until obama became president, she's not worthy to do the honors

      Reply#62 - Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:18 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
      Reply#63 - Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:33 PM EDT

      Turns out this was just another tempest in a teapot brought to you by America's nutso right wingers.

      All she did was sit up in the stands and cheer on the team from the USA. Pretty patriotic if you ask me.

        Reply#64 - Thu Aug 9, 2012 4:50 PM EDT
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