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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Elaine Chao
Elaine L. Chao
Secretary of Labor

August 29, 2008

Elaine L. Chao
I was honored to be asked by President George W. Bush to lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony of the 29th summer Olympic Games in Beijing this past weekend. The other members of the delegation were U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, U.S. Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt, the Honorable Karen Hughes, World Champion Figure Skater Michelle Kwan and President of the U.S. Olympic Committee Peter Ueberroth. It was an historic occasion. The Chinese people made an enormous effort to present an unforgettable experience The magnificent pagentry of the opening and closing ceremonies, coupled with the beautiful venues prepared for the games were truly memorable. We enjoyed cheering on Team USA and celebrating the spirit of all the Olympians competing at these games.

John, from Canada writes:
How do you think The american team did in competition at the olympics?

Elaine L. Chao
They were terrific! Our Olympians won the most medals of any country. They were wonderful representatives for America. We should all be very proud of their achievements and admire their talent, tenacity and courage to compete at such a high level.

Team USA excelled not only in a broad range of athletic ability, but in character and conduct. They showed grace under pressure and elegance and humility in their accomplishments. Of course, like all Americans, I'm proud that we have such triumphs as those of eight-gold medal winner Michael Phelps, whose home is right up the road in Baltimore, Maryland; and, silver medalist Dana Torres, the 41 year old mother of a two year old, who exhibited courage for everyone who thought that ‘time may have passed them by’ I could mention American’s accomplishments in gymnastics, track and field, and there’s Brian Clay, the American decathlon winner from Hawaii, as well as the success of the men and women team’s beach volleyball, and our most notable professionals on the USA Basketball team coached by Duke’s own Mike Krzyzewski. I’m also very proud of my fellow Kentuckian, Elaine Breeden, who won the silver medal for her part in the women's 4-by-100 medley relay. I think those who worked and made sacrifices so our team could excel need also to be highlighted and that includes the parents, families, trainers, and supporters of Team USA athletes.

Cliff, from Brimfield, Ohio writes:
Secretary Chao:I believe that the 2008 Olympics was a winner for all. I believe that the events were not the only place that GAMES were being played. I believe the games between the participants, the governments and the world was taking place at the same time. The games having ended. I believe that more than just GOLD was won at the games and I hope the awards and results will continue many years after.What is your take on the games? Thank You

Elaine L. Chao
The Olympic Games are always full of excitement and incredible displays of athleticism and sportsmanship. It is a very special event that captures the world’s attention every four years. We will be talking about the athletic achievements at the Beijing 2008 Olympics for years to come.

liyi, from china writes:
compared to the previous olympics,how do you judge the beijing olympics?

Elaine L. Chao
The U.S. Olympic team won the most overall number of medals so I think the Beijing Olympics were tremendously successful for our Olympic athletes. The Chinese Olympic team won the most gold medals, so the Chinese people must be very proud of their athletes as well. There were athletic performances that will be recalled and re-played for decades. For any country, it is a huge effort to host the Olympics and accommodate all the teams and spectators from all around the world. China and the Chinese people clearly put a lot of resources, time and effort and worked for seven years to make these Olympics a success for the athletes and everyone involved.

Benny, from NY writes:
how did you feel about the closing ceremony for the Beijing Olympics you attend on Aug 24?

Elaine L. Chao
It was a great honor to lead the presidential delegation to the closing ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games. The closing ceremony was spectacularly memorable.

James, from Horizon City, Texas writes:
The purpose of the Olympics is to celebrate life with the spirit of friendship in the context of friendly athletic competition. The purpose of China in hosting the Olympic Games was to gain world recognition as an economic and political powerhouse. Do these two agendas conflict with one another and how well was each fulfilled?

Elaine L. Chao
There is really no conflict between these goals. Every country that hosts the Olympics wants to put its best foot forward and China is no exception. China put a tremendous amount of work and preparation into making the venues for the games unique and beautiful, and in creating opening and closing ceremonies that were impressive and memorable. The careful planning and extensive preparation show that the Chinese people want to engage with the world at every level.

jiang, from china writes:
as your grandfather is chinese? what do you think of the beijing Olymplic Games

Elaine L. Chao
As an American of Chinese heritage, it was a great honor to be named by the President of the United States of America to lead the American delegation to the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. It was very exciting to be in Beijing during this historic time for the United States and China. The extensive preparations that China made to ensure that the Games were successful were very impressive. The closing ceremony was an unforgettable evening full of energy, non-stop action, acrobatics, music, and singing.

Elaine L. Chao
Thank you so much for joining me today. I have enjoyed answering all your questions, and hope you enjoyed the Olympics as much as we did!