Remarks During a Visit to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado

May 29, 1984

The President. Colonel Miller asked me if I'd like to say a few words. I'd be awful disappointed if I didn't; I had them all written out here. [Laughter] Well, it is a pleasure to be with you here today. This is a training facility of which I think we can all be proud, and let me add, it's being used by some of the finest athletes in the world. And we're mighty proud of them, too, which means proud of you.

By the way, where's the riding ring -- [laughter] -- to get down to my present sport. But we had the U.S.C. women's basketball team at the White House not long ago, and so I saw a couple of familiar faces here when I was watching the practice over there.

I'm planning to be at the July 28th opening ceremony, so I'll see you there along with many of your friends from around the world. It's unfortunate that not all nations will be represented at the games. I hope you realize, however, that the success of the Olympics and your personal success in the games in no way depend on political machinations of powerbrokers in countries that are less than free. The games are moving forward, and they'll be successful.

Closer to home, the Olympic movement is alive and well in the United States. Part of the reason is because of the excellent leadership given to the United States Olympic Committee by your president, Bill Simon, by your executive director for over a decade, Colonel Don Miller.

One of the major goals of our administration has been promoting private-sector initiatives, getting people involved instead of waiting for the government to take responsibility. Well, this Olympic effort is probably the greatest private-sector initiative that's ever been undertaken.

Seventy thousand athletes have trained at this facility since 1977. The U.S. Olympic Committee budget is increased from less than $9 billion -- million dollars -- during Don Miller's first year to nearly $90 million for this Olympiad. I'm particularly impressed with the job opportunity program for athletes, permitting them to train while earning a living, and that sounds like a good job to me.

A host of corporations, sponsors, and individuals have contributed time, energy, and financial support to make sure the games and our team are the best ever. This spirit is especially important in our efforts, because ours is the only major national Olympic committee out of all 158 which receives no government financial support.

We pulled out all the stops. Every State of our Union has a volunteer organization to raise money. Thirty-seven corporations and more than a million individuals are supporters of the U.S. Olympics -- they're all members of the U.S. team. And thanks to this national team effort, you'll be the best prepared competitors in history, and the Olympics are going to be the best ever held.

The Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee has also done a terrific job. There are more Olympians involved in these games than ever before. Their ``Spirit Team'' has been relating their Olympic experiences to get others involved and build support and enthusiasm for the Olympics. Unlike past Olympics, which never employed Olympians in management roles, the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee has Olympians participating at all levels.

One aspect of the games of special note is the new competitive events for women. These games will do more for women than has ever been done before in the Olympics. There'll be 12 new women's Olympics events.

I remember the years when I was playing some football. And then in college I got tied up between swimming and track, and I knew I couldn't do both -- and a quarter mile and a 220 and the 880 relay team in track, and then the dashes up to the 220 in -- now it's 200 meters, but then we did it in yards -- swimming. And I finally settled on swimming.

But I know that the -- well, I followed that up with being a sports broadcaster. Indeed, I was broadcasting the Drake relays when Jesse Owens broke three American records in one afternoon. It was a great day for him, and I know you all know of him and what a great Olympic star and what a great American he was.

But even back then, our Olympic team was a great morale builder for the American people. And it's something which brings all your fellow citizens together. It gives us all the chance to wave the flag together. I'd end this by saying good luck, but I know it's not luck that you're depending on, although I've said it to some of you individually. It's your skill and all the training that you've done.

We're all very proud of you, and just remember: We are with you all the way. God bless all of you.

Lynette Woodard. Mr. President, this is a very exciting day for all of us. And we're very honored that you have graced us with your presence. On behalf of the 1984 Women's Olympic Basketball Team, we would like to extend to you a very warm welcome and present you with this gift.

[Ms. Woodard gave the President a warmup suit.]

The President. Hey, that's great.

Ms. Woodard. At this time -- excuse me?

The President. This is all the rest of it?

Ms. Woodard. Yes. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you.

Ms. Woodard. At this time, the other sports would like to present you with some gifts.

The President. I didn't really come here for this, but thank you very much. You said there was more. I'm not going to leave. [Laughter]

Mel McGinnis. Mr. President, sir, I'm a race walker. And I know you don't know much about that sport, but I'm sure glad you came, and I'll probably vote for you, too. [Laughter]

The President. Thank you very much.

Thank you all very much. God bless all of you again.

Note: The President spoke at 2:53 p.m. at the center. Prior to his remarks, he was given a tour of the facility.

Following his appearance at the center, the President went to the Broadmoor Hotel, where he attended several receptions for Colorado Reagan-Bush volunteers and Republican officials. He remained at the hotel overnight.