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    American, British children get active in London on eve of Olympic competition

    American, British children get active in London on eve of Olympic competition

    Photo By Brent Thacker | First lady Michelle Obama plays doubles tennis with Ajani Tonge, 12, son of Tech. Sgt....... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Brent Thacker 

    100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs   

    RAF MILDENHALL, England – Hours before the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games, on the lawn of Winfield House, the residence of the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the games had already begun.

    Children from youth programs at U.S. Air Force installations in the United Kingdom were invited to join British children in a fitness-themed day out, part of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative to combat childhood obesity.

    The event put children alongside Olympic athletes in multiple play areas, where tennis, basketball, tug-of-war, football and field hockey were among the different activities that they could try.

    During the festivities, the massive group of children and adult chaperones were entertained by British pop band The Wanted, singer-songwriter Katy B. and musician Mark Ronson, as well as the University of Florida marching band.

    The guests were formally welcomed to the event by Ambassador Louis Susman and members of the United States Olympic Committee, before Obama was brought before the microphone to introduce the star athletes and give her own welcome. The first lady specially thanked the children and families of military members stationed overseas to thunderous applause.

    The first lady spoke directly to the children about the importance of fitness and keeping an active lifestyle. Learning about being active and taking care of our bodies was one of the reasons for the event, she said.

    “You have to start making sure you get the exercise that you need and eat the right foods,” Obama told the group. “That’s so important.”

    The first lady urged the kids to shut off the television at home and “go play!”

    After briefly discussing proper nutrition, Obama reminded the kids that the true nature of the event was to play and have fun, and she urged them to get out and try each of the different activities set up across the field. She and the Olympic athletes followed suit, joining each game and playing alongside the children.

    The experience was one that will stick with the participants – both kids and adults – for years to come.

    Ethen Duvall, 10, son of Tech. Sergeants Rich and Jacelyn Duvall, RAF Lakenheath, said one of his favorite parts of the day was scoring a goal on a Manchester United football club goalkeeper, as well as the live music performances. Ethen said the event has bolstered his excitement for the Olympics, but living in England for nearly three years has him rooting for both Team USA and Team Great Britain.

    Another 10-year-old, Aidan Driver, son of Matthew Driver, 100th Force Support Squadron, was thrilled to meet one of the legends of his favorite sport, footballer David Beckham. Beckham met fans and signed autographs with some of his former Manchester United teammates.

    Adult chaperone Kelli Hardin, 100th Air Refueling Wing, said while she was excited to see the first lady and the star athletes in person, for her the highlight of the day was watching the children play.

    “It was so cool to see all the kids out there running around and having fun, not really caring about anything else,” she said.

    Other special guests included former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Summer Sanders (swimming) and Carl Lewis (track and field), members of the USA field hockey and tennis teams, and Spongebob Squarepants. All met, played games with and took photos with the young participants.

    The event was held in conjunction with the start of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, and the “Let’s Move!” website encourages families to join similar Olympic fun day events being held across the United States July 28, 2012, the first day of Olympic competitions.



    Date Taken: 07.27.2012
    Date Posted: 07.27.2012 16:28
    Story ID: 92279
    Location: LONDON, WSM, GB

    Web Views: 82
    Downloads: 0