Governor Delivers Remarks at the California Olympians and Paralympians Celebration

BILLY BUSH:  Here they are, folks, getting closer and closer. Reach out and touch one of them, make sure they're real. The 2008 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and some of the great Olympic athletes of all time in American history, led by the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. By the way, Governor, you're looking strong. He could have competed this year if he wanted to. He's still looking buff.  

Ladies and gentlemen, our Olympians and Paralympians; help me welcome them to this stage with a nice big round of applause. From the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, Louis Zamperini, who competed with Jesse Owens in Track and Field. (Applause) Wow.  

And our Olympians -- he ran here today, by the way -- our Olympians from the 1960s: Renaldo Brown from track and field and Jeff Farrell from swimming. Frank Gorman from diving. Chuck Nelson from volleyball. Eulice Williams, track and field. Andrew Strength from swimming.  

And our Olympians from the 1970s: Rosalyn Bryant from track and field; Craig Lincoln from diving; Eric Lindroff, water polo; Karen McCloskey-Keene from rowing; John Neighbor from swimming; James Owen from track and field.  

And our Olympians from the 1980s: Roberta Bell from track and field; Tony Campbell from track and field; Sherry Howard, track and field; Pamela Marshall, track and field; Doug Pardy, volleyball; Kelly Richen-Mitchell from rowing; Kim Stiles-Robinson from gymnastics; Henry Tillman, Henry 'Boom-boom' Tillman from boxing.

And our Olympians from the 1990s: Mike Desero, fencing; Chris Duplanty, water polo; Kenneth Flax from track and field; Jeff Williams, track and field; Denine Howard-Hill, track and field. 

And our Olympians from Sidney in 2000 and Athens in 2004: Hazel Clark, track and field; Cliff Midal, canoe and kayak; Jamie Nieto, track and field; John Nunn, rowing -- the Nunn man.  

And now, ladies and gentlemen, returning from Beijing, China, our 2008 Olympians and Paralympians: Michael Altman, rowing; Rachel Buehler, soccer; Jeremy Campbell, Paralympic track and field; Karen Clemens, track and field; Philip Dunn, track and field; Brady Ellison, archery; Sean Estrada, boxing; Elexis Gillette, track and field; Natalie Golda, water polo; Valerie Gotay, judo; Allison Gregorka, water polo; Ronald Harvey, Paralympic rowing; April Holmes, Paralympic track and field; Larsen Jensen, swimming; Eva Lee, badminton; what's up, it's the closer himself, Jason Lezak, swimming; I need knuckles, boom. Katuna Lorig, archery; Jesse Lorenz, (Inaudible); Angela Madson, Paralympic rowing; Joseph McCarthy, Paralympic swimming; Gina Miles, equestrian; Gerard Moreno, Paralympic fencing; David Neville, track and field; Roy Perkins, Paralympic swimming; Brent Poppin, wheelchair tennis; Scott Rogers, Paralympic fencing; Oscar Sanchez, Paralympic hand cycling; Will Simpson, equestrian; Chloe Sutton, swimming; Stephanie Brown Trafton, track and field; Casey Tibbs, Paralympian wheels; Katelyn Verfurf, wheelchair tennis; Brenda Villa, water polo -- could be Villa. Villa, welcome to California -- Wes Williams, Paralympic track and field; Joe Wise, Paralympic swimming. What do you say, Joe? 

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you. Again, my name is Billy Bush, from the television show Access Hollywood. And I had the great pleasure of being in Beijing and also Sydney and also Athens, but interviewing a lot of these great athletes and great Americans who made us all so proud. 

Thank you for being here at Universal Studios Hollywood, the entertainment capital of L.A. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has invited us here to celebrate and honor some of our California Olympic and Paralympic champions, and it is a great honor to MC. Sir, thank you very much for doing that. It is a great honor for me to MC this morning and partake of the ceremony to welcome back our California medalists from their recent triumph at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. 

I'd like to introduce next up here on the podium Chris Duplanty. Chris is a three-time Olympian, having competed in the 1988 games in Seoul, Korea, '92 in Barcelona, '96 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a champion goalkeeper for the U.S. National Men's Water Polo Team and earned a silver medal with that team in '88. Chris was an assistant coach for the women's water polo team, leading them to a silver in the 2000 games in Sydney, and he currently serves the U.S. Olympic Committee as the Liaison to the Board of Directors. Please welcome Chris Duplanty. (Applause) 

CHRIS DUPLANTY:  Thanks, Billy. It's great to be here. First of all, let me start with saying, certainly as a California resident, I am very proud and honored of the role that this state and the city of Los Angeles has had in the Olympic movement. Of the eight Olympic Games that have taken place in our country's soil, three have taken place in this state and two in the city of Los Angeles, certainly something to be very proud of.  

In addition, you should know that a lot of the Olympians, Paralympians, Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, choose California to live and train and call home. Over 250 of the approximately 800 athletes that competed in Beijing in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are proud to call California their home and live and train here, some as close as the Olympic Training Center down in Chula Vista.  

I will tell you that, certainly as my experience has taught me, when you get through the Olympics and realize the dreams, not only that personal pride of achievement, but also the pride of representing your country, it is events like this, where you have an opportunity to share them with friends and family and those that supported you that truly are the experiences that stay with you for a lifetime. So with that said, first of behalf of the United States Olympic Committee and my fellow Olympians and Paralympians, I'd like to thank Larry Kurzweil, Universal Studios, and Governor Schwarzenegger for hosting this great event. (Applause) 

I'd like also to recognize the Governor's Council for Physical Fitness, promoting physical activity and fitness for all Californians, especially California's children and youth and many who are here today. (Applause)  

I'd like to thank the Olympians and Paralympians who are here today. And to the Olympians and Paralympians from 2008, I'd like to say welcome to the class of 2008. (Applause)  

And finally, on behalf of all of us, I'd like to thank all of you for being here. It gives us an opportunity to see the faces of those who mean a lot to us, and who we certainly are proud to have represented during our competitive careers. 

And with that, I'd like to welcome to the stage your Governor of California, Governor Schwarzenegger. (Applause) 

GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER:  Thank you very much, Chris, for the nice introduction. And I also want to say thank you very much to Larry Kurzweil from Universal Studios, who is running Universal Studios here and who has been very generous to open up the gates of Universal Studios to celebrate the greatest athletes in the world. So thank you very much and a big hand to Larry also. (Applause)  

I also want to thank Billy Bush for doing such an extraordinary job not only for Access Hollywood but also as the MC here today, so let's give him also a big, big hand. (Applause) 

This is really terrific, let me tell you, because I called Universal Studios, my friend Paul Miner -- Where is Paul Miner, is he around here somewhere? And I said, "I have a great idea. We just had the athletes, the Olympic athletes from Special Olympians to Paralympians to Olympic champions, everyone was at the State Capitol in Sacramento." I said, "But we were there at the inside and we didn't have enough room for the thousands of people that want to go and see them and say thank you to them for the great work they have done over the last few decades." And so, I said, "Lets' do an event here at Universal Studios where we have enough room for the thousands of people to come in there so that they public can see firsthand the greatest athletes in the world and the people that make us always feel proud." 

And they immediately, Paul Miner said, "Let me get to work on it." And then, of course, he got in touch with Kurzweil, with Larry, and he said, "This is terrific," and everyone at Universal said it's terrific. So I want to say thank you to universal Studios, the studio that has done many movies, including Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer and all of those great movies, and Twins and the list goes on and on and on. So this is kind of like my home away from home, Universal Studios, and it is so nice to have them bring all these athletes our there. 

And I want to say again, here in public to the athletes, thank you so much for the great job that you have done in the Olympic Games, if it is Special Olympics, Paralympics or the Olympic Games. You have done an extraordinary job, you have made us feel proud. And I know that you have for years had this philosophy not only to make the Olympics and being a champion about you, but also about all of our kids out there, that you are a great inspiration to so many millions of children in California and all over the United States. And you are a great inspiration in getting fit for kids to exercise every day, to eat well and to eat healthy, to stay away from smoking and to stay away from drugs, to stay away from alcohol. You are a great inspiration to all of those kids, and also to us grownups, to train every day and to stay healthy. So thank you very much. And please give them again a big, big hand for the great work that they have done. Thank you. (Applause) 

I don't want to be negative, but there is just one thing, news that we have that is sad. Last night Paul Newman passed away because of cancer, and so our thoughts and prayers go out to Joanne, his wife, and to his friends and his family. And let's just have a quick moment of silence for Paul Newman. Thank you very much. Thank you. 

So let's enjoy the rest of the time, and again, thank you very much, Billy, for the great job that you are doing. Give a big hand to Billy again. Thank you. (Applause) 

BILLY BUSH: Thank you. It just sounds better coming from him, doesn't it? Thank you all for coming today. These are our Olympians, our Paralympians that came all the way here. And thank you folks for coming here to see them, and if you're visiting California it's great to have you here. Thank you for attending today's celebration. Enjoy the rest of the day, and don't miss an opportunity to participate in the clinics and autographs right here at Universal Studios Hollywood, the entertainment capital of L.A. Have a great day. (Applause)