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April 29, 1998: Honoring the Olympic Spirit

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While you may think that being in the Olympics was your magic moment, I believe that the future holds even more promise. You are young, you are strong and everyone of you has a great amount of power over the minds of our youth. With that power comes a responsibility -- a responsibility to teach the lessons of setting your sights high, working hard and being persistent.

- President Bill Clinton
April 29, 1998

Today, President Clinton hosts a White House event honoring the 1998 Winter Olympic and Paralympic teams for their participation in the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. In his remarks, the President thanks Mrs. Gore for heading the U.S. Delegation to Nagano and thanks Mack McLarty for co-chairing with the Vice President the White House task force on the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The President encourages the athletes to carry on the Olympic Spirit and to set an example that will inspire America's youth to achievement.

A Record Of Success. The 1998 Winter Olympic Games were held in Nagano, Japan from February 7-21, 1998. Team USA won 13 medals, finishing 6th overall. These Winter Games will be remembered for the outstanding performance of US women's teams, as well as the introduction of a few exciting winter sports including snow boarding, curling, and women's ice hockey. The Winter Paralympic Games in Nagano were held from March 5-14. Team USA won 34 medals, finishing sixth overall.

Honoring The Olympic Spirit. Olympic athletes carry our hopes dreams and often show us what is best about America -- our determination and perseverance, our diversity and our teamwork, and our unyielding pursuit of excellence. Today's White House event honors the accomplishments of our Olympic athletes and inspires us to rise to the high standards embodied by the Olympics.

Inspiring Through Example. President Clinton calls on America's Olympic athletes to recognize the gifts of excellence they have and to share them with our youth, encouraging our young people to achieve their full potential. Today, many of the Winter Olympic athletes will join Secretary Shalala and Representatives Moran and Morella to participate in the Champions of Life Program, reaching out to young people, encouraging them to stay in school, set ambitious goals and remain drug free.

An Opportunity For Action. The Olympic spirit -- the spirit of international goodwill and friendship -- must propel us further into an era of respect for all people and opportunity for all children. It should remind Americans of the President's challenge to the nation, to use this unique moment of peace and prosperity as an opportunity to prepare for the next century -- building a strong economy that honors opportunity; a society rooted in responsibility; and a nation that lives as a community.

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