The Official Site of Bryan Clay

News

Mon, Jul 21st 2008, 13:15

Bush gives U.S. Olympians rousing send-off to Beijing

President Bush gave U.S. Olympians a rousing White House send-off to next month’s games in Beijing, urging them Monday to “compete swifter, higher and stronger” but also be mindful they will be “ambassadors of liberty” to the people of China and elsewhere.

Bush is attending the opening ceremonies and the first few days of the Aug. 8-24 games. Standing in the Rose Garden with about two dozen athletes who will compete in the Beijing Olympics and the corresponding Paralympics there in September, Bush said he is “fired up” to watch some of the competition.

“I can’t wait to salute our athletes, and I can’t wait to share in the joy of your triumphs,” he said.

Human rights groups had urged Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies to oppose China’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet. The Bush administration argues that the Olympics are a sporting event not to be politicized and that the president will raise human and religious rights with Chinese officials in the appropriate context.

But while talking to the athletes about their responsibilities in Beijing, Bush had a subtle message for China itself.

“You will convey our nation’s most cherished values,” the president said. “As ambassadors of liberty, you will represent America’s love for freedom and our regard for human rights and human dignity … to other athletes and to the people of China.”

Continue reading….