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New Steps To Improve Physical Fitness And Expand Opportunities For All Americans

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The Briefing Room

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 23, 2000

June 23, 2000

Today the President will tour one of America's leading athletic training facilities and offer encouragement to our Olympic hopefuls as they train for the upcoming 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. While visiting the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California he will thank the athletes and encourage them as they compete to represent the United States. The President will also announce three new steps to open the doors of opportunity so all Americans can strive to achieve their full potential. First, on this anniversary of Title IX, President Clinton will issue an Executive Order to prohibit discrimination in federally conducted education and training programs. Second, he will direct the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services to work with the US Olympic Committee and other public and private organizations to encourage more young people to become and remain physically active. Finally, the President will urge the Congress to work with his Administration to establish a privately-funded foundation to further the mission of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In the spirit of the games on this "Olympic Day", the President will stress the need to provide all Americans the equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and further opportunity for our next generation.

SALUTING AMERICAN ATHLETES ON "OLYMPIC DAY". Today marks the 106th anniversary of "Olympic Day"- the founding of the Modern Olympic Games. During his tour of the Olympic Training Center, the President will meet with athletes training for the 2000 Olympic Games, to be held in Sydney, Australia later this year. Approximately 600 top athletes will represent the United States, constituting the largest visiting delegation to attend the Sydney Games. Roughly half of the U.S. Team has been selected, and throughout the summer athletes from across the country will compete in the remaining qualifying trials in the hopes of representing their country in September. The ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California is one of three U.S. Olympic Training Centers. The two other centers are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Lake Placid, New York.

ENSURING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL. On the anniversary of Title IX, the President will release an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, and status as a parent in educational or training programs offered by the federal government. This Executive Order will ensure that the federal government holds itself to the same principles of nondiscrimination in educational opportunities that it applies to the education programs and activities of state and local governments, and to private institutions receiving federal financial assistance. The President called for this initiative on June 17, 1997, in a speech commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

PROMOTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. President Clinton will also issue an Executive Memorandum directing the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services to work with the U.S. Olympic Committee and other public and private sector organizations to identify additional strategies to promote physical education, activity, and fitness among America's youth. The percentage of high school students enrolled in daily physical education classes has declined more than thirty percent - from 42 percent to 29 percent - between 1991 and 1999, and 14 percent of young people 12 to 21 years of age report no recent physical activity at all. Low physical activity, among children as well as adults represents one of the leading health risk factors facing the U.S. population, contributing to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. The Executive Memorandum asks the Secretaries to report back in 90 days with new strategies to promote: broadening of physical education in our schools, and expanding after-school programs that offer physical activities and sports in addition to enhanced academic and cultural activities; participation by private sector partners; and increased coordination of existing public and private resources. These strategies will help communities around the nation follow the new Dietary Guideline recommending that adults and children get at least thirty minutes of daily physical activity. The President recently announced these guidelines in conjunction with the National Nutrition Summit.

PROMOTING PRIVATE-SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN INCREASING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The President will also offer the Administration's support for working with Congress to establish a not-for-profit foundation that would leverage additional private sector energy, creativity, and resources to further the mission of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS), with a special emphasis on physical activity among youth. Modeled after successful congressionally -authorized private foundations that support the goals of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, this privately-funded foundation is intended to complement the existing President's Council.

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