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Bush Honors US Olympic Athletes  - 2004-10-18

President Bush honored America's Olympic athletes Monday.

On a bright autumn morning with a chill in the air, President Bush welcomed the summer Olympians to the White House.

He spoke of their individual and team accomplishments. But he said their country has many reasons to be proud of the athletes who represented the United States in Athens.

"With millions watching, you showed the best values of America. You were humble in victory, gracious in defeat," he said.

The event, coming near the end of the presidential election campaign, gave Mr. Bush an opportunity to remind voters of successes in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said the 2004 Summer Olympics provided a symbol of hope.

"Think about what happened at the opening ceremonies," he said. "Our teams marched alongside men and women from Afghanistan and Iraq."

Mr. Bush said throughout the games, American Olympians were ambassadors to the world. He said they showed great athletic skill, but even more important, they showed great character.