U.S. Olympians chat up Michelle Obama

May 14, 2012

DALLAS — Leave it to a Team USA sprinter to throw humility out the window during Monday’s meeting between a couple dozen prospective U.S. Olympians and First Lady Michelle Obama.

When Wallace Spearmon, one of the top Americans in the 200 meters, got his chance to shake hands with Mrs. Obama at the 2012 team USA Media Summit, he found himself stunned. And so he told her so.

Mrs. Obama, wearing small heels, looked Spearmon, who stands 6-2, right in the eye.

“Initially, I was in shock,” Spearmon said. “I didn’t realize she was so tall. My first question was: ‘If you’re this tall, how tall is Barack Obama?’... She was laughing.

“She said she was 5-9. That’s a very deceptive 5-9. It looks like about six feet.”

Mrs. Obama appeared on stage with Spearmon and more than a dozen other prospective U.S. Olympians to introduce a partnership between her Let’s Move! initiative and U.S. Olympic sport governing bodies that is hoped will introduce 1.7 million children to Olympic sports by the end of the year.

“This summer, my hope is, together with our children, that we can support Team USA not just by cheering them on, but also by striving to live up to the example they set,” said Mrs. Obama, who will lead the Presidential delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the London Summer Games.

Mrs. Obama told LaShawn Merritt, a 400-meter runner, that one of her daughters competes in that event. Spearmon, standing nearby, said he immediately piped up.

“I told her if she needs any coaching advice, let me know,” Spearmon said.

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