Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964

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Author: Lyndon B. Johnson  | Date: December 1, 1964

782
Remarks at a Luncheon for the U.S. Olympic Medal Winners.
December 1, 1964

I HOPE you are understanding people. I appreciate your patience and ask for your forgiveness. I would like to introduce to you a few of our distinguished guests today.

There is a saying among some people to never spend your time on a colonel if there is a general in the vicinity. And my beloved friend and distinguished Vice President-elect, Senator Hubert Humphrey, I observe has a rule, "Never sit by a man, if there is a lady in the room." Stand up, Hubert. I want to introduce you.

And that may account for the unusually high percentage of female voters that were recorded in November.

I would also like to present Mr. Kenneth L. Wilson, the president of the United States Olympic Committee which did such a superb job of administering affairs for our team and three other high officials of our Government who made their own sparkling place in the record book of sports. If you will, hold your applause until I introduce the other three distinguished guests today.

My good friend and very great public servant, Mr. Justice Byron R. White, presently a member of the Supreme Court, the fabled "Whizzer" White, everybody’s All-American when he played football at the University of Colorado.

My Secretary of the Interior, the imaginative and man of vision, Mr. Stewart L. Udall, who was a star guard on the 1946 championship basketball team of the University of Arizona and is presently a star guard in the Cabinet of the United States.

Finally, my old friend, Stan Musial, "Stan, the Man," who I am privileged to have serving with me as my Special Consultant for Physical Fitness, and, so far as I know, anticipates no senatorial aspirations.

This is an especially happy occasion for Mrs. Johnson and me. Like most Americans, the Johnson family followed the 1964 Olympics with avid interest and a very warm sense of satisfaction.

In all the long and exciting tradition of these international games, I doubt if there has ever been a finer representation of the essential Olympic spirit. Some 6500 young men and women from some 94 nations presented a memorable demonstration of winning without strutting and losing without whimpering. Certainly the 1964 competitionnotably advanced the Olympic ideal of promoting respect between the peoples of the world.

The Japanese are artists in hospitality and on this occasion they outdid even their reputation. They left nothing to chance-nothing at all, not even overlooking the 36 extra dogcatchers along the route of the marathon to protect those celebrated shins of yours.

And the athletic records came tumbling down, as all good records should. Of course, I will say nothing about the brilliant run of medals that were won by the American team. But perhaps you will forgive me if I note that the "Star Spangled Banner" was played so often that people in Tokyo went around humming it like the number one hit tune of the day.

Mrs. Johnson and I are very happy to welcome you medal winners of the American team and you United States officials of the Olympic Committee. We wish there had been room here in this White House to invite all of those who represented America so superbly. But we are delighted today to greet you as the representatives of all of the athletes and the officials.

The American people are very proud of their 1964 Olympic team. They are proud of what you have accomplished and, what is more important, they are proud of what you are.

You young athletes chose a difficult and a demanding endeavor. You represent excellence finely honed to the keenest possibilities.

You exemplify the ideal of our Nation for all phases of our national life. In every occupation, in every endeavor, public and private, let us go at the task full-heartedly and let us demand results that meet the most severe and the most exciting standards.

Our poets have told us, America is promises. America is fulfillment, fulfillment in the richest and the most zestful sense of that word.

Years ago the founder of the modern Olympics declared: "The important thing in the Olympic games is taking part. The essential thing in the Olympic games is fighting well."

You have symbolized for all of us Americans what taking part—a genuine, dedicated, all-out taking part—can produce, and we salute you with a pride that carries the fullest measure of American gratitude for all the people who are privileged to be citizens of the same country that you claim.

It is such a privilege to have you here in the first house of the land. It is equally satisfying to have in this house some of the first of the land.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:45 p.m. at a luncheon in the East Room at the White House. Attending were about 100 of the U.S. Olympic medal winners.

A White House release of November 30, announcing the luncheon, stated that immediately after the close of the games, held in Tokyo October 10-24, the President cabled the following message to Kenneth L. Wilson, president of the U.S. Olympic Committee:

"The Nation is proud of its Olympic representatives and their accomplishments. Please give my warm congratulations to the committee and the whole team. Would like to greet all of you personally at the White House. Since that is impractical please invite on my behalf as representatives of the whole group the four officers of the committee and the winners of medals to lunch with me."

Because many of the athletes had previous commitments in other countries, the release further stated, the luncheon was delayed until December 1.

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Chicago: Lyndon B. Johnson, "782 Remarks at a Luncheon for the U.S. Olympic Medal Winners.," Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1673-1674 1622. Original Sources, accessed February 9, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8DWJ2YJ741ZB8LD.

MLA: Johnson, Lyndon B. "782 Remarks at a Luncheon for the U.S. Olympic Medal Winners." Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1673-1674, page 1622. Original Sources. 9 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8DWJ2YJ741ZB8LD.

Harvard: Johnson, LB, '782 Remarks at a Luncheon for the U.S. Olympic Medal Winners.' in Public Papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1964 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.1673-1674, pp.1622. Original Sources, retrieved 9 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8DWJ2YJ741ZB8LD.