Tags: Barack Obama | Oly | 2016 | US | Obama

Obama: Forget US Politics, Rally Around Olympians

(Getty Images)

Saturday, 06 Aug 2016 08:55 AM

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to set aside political differences and unite to support the US athletes at the Summer Olympics under way in Rio de Janeiro.

Obama, in his weekly Saturday morning radio and online address, praised Team USA's diversity and urged Americans to appreciate "the peaceful competition and sportsmanship" of the event.

"Team USA reminds the world why America always sets the gold standard: We're a nation of immigrants that finds strength in our diversity and unity in our national pride," Obama said.

The US team includes "the most women who have ever competed for any nation at any Olympic Games," as well as "a few athletes who are almost as old as I am, and one born just a year before my younger daughter."

Also among the US athletes is "a fencing champion from suburban Jersey who'll become the first American Olympian to wear a hijab while competing."

The reference is to Ibtihaj Muhammad, a 30-year-old African-American Muslim whose participation in Rio comes in the midst of a US presidential election campaign marked by anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Obama called on Americans to rally around the Olympians.

"In a season of intense politics, let's cherish this opportunity to come together around one flag," he said.

"In a time of challenge around the world, let's appreciate the peaceful competition and sportsmanship we'll see, the hugs and high-fives and the empathy and understanding between rivals who know we share a common humanity."

The idea "that you can succeed no matter where you're from," Obama said, "is especially true this year.

"We'll cheer on athletes on the first-ever Olympic Refugee Team: Ten competitors from the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Syria who personify endurance."

Both leading US presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, wrote brief messages on Twitter wishing the best of luck for US athletes in Rio.

© AFP 2017

   
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President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to set aside political differences and unite to support the US athletes at the Summer Olympics under way in Rio de Janeiro.
Oly, 2016, US, Obama
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2016-55-06
Saturday, 06 Aug 2016 08:55 AM
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