16 Minutes with First Lady Michelle Obama! Part 1

22 05 2012


(FLOTUS) Speaks to youth on getting more active at American University. I’m far left next to Mrs. Benita Mosely

First of all, if you do not want to read any further, I just want to say we have a beautiful, classy, warm-hearted and down-to-earth First Lady in Michelle Obama. To coin a phrase from one of my favorite sports commentator Stuart Scott, she’s just, “Cool, like the other side of the pillow.”

MEETING #1 – 6 Minutes

To say I was ecstatic to receive an assignment from my employer, the United States Olympic Committee, to lead a group of Paralympic Ambassadors and assist in the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative at American University in Washington, D.C., would be an understatement.  The fact that both Mrs. Obama and Samantha Cameron (affectionately known as Sam Cam) who is the British Prime Minister’s wife would be in attendance was the real crown.

The event was star-studded. I mean we had 80 phenomenal kids from the great states of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia coupled with amazing athletes like Benita Fitzgerald Mosely (100m Hurdle Champ 1984 Olympic Games) Dan O’Brien (Olympic Champion Decathlon); Lisa Leslie (4x Olympic Gold Medalist basketball); April Holmes (100m Paralympic Champion); Dominique Dawes (The darling of the 1996 Olympic Gymnastics Team); and Kortney Clemons (Paralympic hopeful and Purple Heart Recipient from the War on Iraq); who all volunteered their time to challenge these youth to inspire others to become more active.


And while President Barack Obama and SamCam’s husband, Prime Minister David Cameron, were enjoying an awkward hot dog at the opening of the final four basketball game, we (Olympians and Paralympians) were in the gym at American University leading 80 rambunctious kids through various sports stations.

My day was going great! A) All my athletes were at the gym and on time, and B) I was paired with the amazing Lisa Leslie at the Basketball station.


JR and Lisa Leslie

Decathlete Dan O’Brien escorted Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Cameron through the various sports stations and after the First Ladies were finished with their tour, Dan then called each of us working the stations to come to be introduced.

It was Lisa and my turn to meet Mrs. Obama.As I made my way to her I could not help but notice how long, lean and graceful the First Lady is. She is very comfortable in who she is.

Dan introduced Lisa and Mrs. Obama quickly started spilling stats on Lisa to Mrs. Cameron.

Now that’s just cool.

She then looked to me for verification of the facts and though I followed Lisa Leslie’s career, I don’t know all her stats, but like the Eurythmics song, “Sweet Dreams are Made of This,” lyrics state, “Who am I to disagree.”

Mrs. Obama then introduced herself to me. “Hi, I’m Mrs. Michelle Obama (or something of that effect.)

In my mind I was saying, “Like I don’t know who you are.”  I was so honored and humbled I could barely remember my own name!

The mood was so warm at that moment and her personality had put me at ease that I decided to tell her about some of the issues I was having.

You see my wife Alice and I were invited to the President’s State Dinner in honor of the Cameron’s visit to America. The official welcome was the next day.  I joked with April (the 100m dash champ from Beijing) the day before that Alice had so many dresses in the closet that she could pick from a bunch she had not worn.  April looked at me like I was a cross-eyed Billy goat. She obviously did not think that was funny.

April and my conversation went something like this.

April:  “Are you really going to allow Alice to come meet the First Lady with something she has hanging in the closet.”

John: “Well, since you put it that way, and with that attitude, and with your neck moving like that, I guess my answer is no.”

So, having that conversation in the back of my mind I greeted the Mrs. Obama.  The following is only my recollection of how our short conversation went.  It is NOT verbatim.

John: “It is an honor to meet you and thank you for this initiative that is getting kids active.”

Mrs. Obama: “Well, thank all of you for being such strong role models for these youth!”

(She then gave me a big hug)

John: “Our pleasure Ma’am. My wife and I are also looking forward to coming to your little shindig tomorrow night in honor of the Prime Minister and Mrs. Cameron.

Mrs. Obama:  “We are so looking forward to it as well.  I think it is going to be a great time and we certainly look forward to seeing you there.

John:  “You know First Lady you’re setting me back a bit because I have to give the debit card to my wife to buy a new dress.  And, she is having problems finding something that works in our budget!”

It was then that I wanted to say in comedian Kevin Hart fashion, “You see my checking account is tied to my savings account….”

To which Mrs. Obama just let out a laugh and a big smile.

Mrs. Obama: “I am sure she will be lovely!”

We had some more pleasant words after that but I don’t remember the rest of the conversation.

Now I don’t know if I should count this next meeting as a second meeting or a continuation of the first meeting?  You tell me?

After the remarks the athletes were taken for official photos by the White House photographer with Mrs. Obama.  We exchanged a few more cordial words and I reassured her I would see her the next evening.


JR and FLOTUS backstage Let’s Move

MEETING #1 Concluded, Total Time with First Lady – 6 Minutes

Note:  The next entry to this post will be on Wednesday the 23rd of May 2012


Lessons from an Overhead Bin! Thursday Inspired Thought by John Register

6 11 2014

Great Thursday Inspirers.

I hope all of your days are full of life and adventure!  Today I discuss walking the ‘proverbial” mile in another’s shoes and then acting with intention to ensure that all are treated with dignity and respect.

There are tremendous opportunities for growth and I share with you a growth moment I had as well as how I now share this with others to change their perceptions.

Have a great Thursday, and of course, write me and tell me what you think of this video blog today.

Thursday Inspired Thought! 15 min. Review when you have some time and…need a good laugh. Please forward and share with your friends. Help me break 500 views on this one.  Have an inspirational day!


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Adversity Over-comer

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