144483420 First Lady Has Plan To Get Kids Involved In Sports

Athletes listen as US First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the 2012 Team USA Media Summit on May 14, 2012 in Dallas,Texas. (Photo JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)

DALLAS (AP/CBSDFW) – First lady Michelle Obama has announced a plan to get more than 1.7 million children involved in Olympic-style activities as part of her “Let’s Move!” initiative.

Mrs. Obama, who will lead the U.S. delegation at the London Olympics, has made combating childhood obesity a priority over the past few years.

She was joined by more than two dozen Olympians and Paralympians on Monday to announce the plan, which has received support from the Partnership for a Healthier America, the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Paralympics and numerous national governing bodies.

USA Cycling, for example, will provide free memberships and clinics. The U.S. Tennis Association plans to introduce 620,000 youths to the sport, and USA Swimming will enroll 530,000 learn-to-swim participants in its “Make a Splash” program.

Surrounded by young athletes the First Lady took the stage at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas Monday afternoon.

Mrs. Obama said that her program is all about combating childhood obesity, encouraging children to eat healthier and take part in more physical activities.

“All it takes is that first lesson that first clinic or class to get a child excited about a new sport,” said the First Lady. “And once they’re engaged that’s when coaches and instructors can step in and become mentors.”

Mrs. Obama was also in North Texas hoping to score gold, or green, for her husband.

“She’s the perfect person to be raising money,” said CBS 11 political analyst John Weekley about the First Lady’s fundraising abilities. “Mrs. Obama is enormously popular throughout the United States and in Texas. She has the kind of appeal where you can tell she is a partner to the President.”

Mrs. Obama appeared at a fundraiser spearheaded by The Democratic Party of Collin County. The minimum to attend was $250 dollars.

The fundraiser comes the same day as polls opened for early voting in Texas’ Republican Presidential Primary.

The race to the White House could come down to undecided and independent women–a group many analysts say Mrs. Obama can reach.

“She has struck a cord with the American public in terms of things that are important,” said Weekley.  “And I don’t know anything much more important than our children.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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