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Clinton: Atlanta Olympics Will Show ‘America at Its Best’

May 1, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Backed by 30 Olympic athletes, President Clinton told a high school audience Wednesday that visitors to this summer’s Olympics in Atlanta will see that ``no champion wins alone, not in athletics and not in life.″

``There’s always a parent who cares or a teacher who listens or a coach who believes or a friend who encourages or a church and community that supports,″ Clinton said.

Kicking off a day of ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympics, Clinton said that athletes, officials and ordinary people from 197 nations will be coming to Atlanta.

``I know that they will see America at its best,″ the president told students at the District of Columbia’s Eastern High School.

``They’ll see our diversity and our unity. They’ll see that we have differences that don’t divide us. They’ll see that we understand individual excellence and teamwork.″

Clinton’s remarks were aimed at encouraging students to stay in school and stay off drugs.

More than 1,500 students from three area schools packed the Eastern High football field as Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and former and current Olympic athletes filed in.

One athlete, Olympic wrestler and jump roper Bobby Lee, almost stole the show, jumping so quickly his rope seemed to vanish. ``Faster, faster, faster!″ shouted Bonnie Blair, Olympic gold medalist in speed skating.

Although he didn’t use a rope, Clinton tried to imitate the Lee quickstep style, hopping in place.

``All these athletes ... remind us that we all have a lot of important muscles in our body, but the most important muscle we ever use on the field of competition, as well as in life, is the heart,″ Clinton told his student audience.

``If you young people have heart ... you’ll stay in school, you’ll stay drug free, you’ll stay away from drugs and violence and you’ll get into developing your minds and bodies,″ Clinton said.

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