Public Papers

Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Flo Hyman Award


The President. Well, this is very brief, but I just couldn't be more pleased to see everybody here, and I want to welcome you to the White House.

This morning I want to use this occasion to present the Flo Hyman Award to Chris Evert. Now, Chris, you have long represented not just the game of tennis but your country. And you've done it so very well and with grace, dignity, and good sportsmanship, so today it's only fitting that you receive this award.

I know that all of your friends and colleagues here will agree that you certainly are the role model for our nation's young women, and we all miss you on the professional tennis circuit. Maybe Pam and Martina won't miss you on the tennis circuit, but the rest of us certainly will. [Laughter] And as you head off into this new phase of your career, I know that you will continue to serve as a tremendous example to our young people and to all of us.

So, let me speak for all Americans when I say we're very proud of you, and I thank you for your leadership and inspiration. And I'm just tickled to death to be able to present this award to you.

Ms. Evert. Thank you, President Bush. I'm very honored to receive this award, first of all because Flo Hyman, I think, meant so much to all of us who knew her -- and all of us who didn't know her, by her spirit. And also because you presented it to me, and I know that you had to juggle a few things around. Your schedule's really tight at this moment, but I just want you to know it means a lot to me for you to present this.

And you know, I think we had a great day yesterday. It was Women's Sports Day and Girls' Sports Day, and I think one of the things that we tried to get across was a big issue, which was the physical education. And since you, as President, have done so much for education and are doing so much for education, I think it was great that we tried to tie it in with physical education -- trying to make it a little more mandatory in schools, and I personally think it'd really help the kids to be mentally a little more alert. And you know, it's just food for thought for you and for all the Senators and everyone to really think about.

But, I'd just like to say thank you to the Women's Sports Foundation, and I'm just really honored to receive this. So, thank you very much.

The President. Congratulations. Thank you all.

Ms. St. James. I'm Lyn St. James -- --

The President. You want the final word? Get over there, come on. Everybody's entitled. Equal play around here.

Ms. St. James. President Bush, thank you. I'm Lyn St. James. I'm the new president of the foundation. And on behalf of the foundation, but also on behalf of every girl and woman that participates in sports, we want to thank you for taking the time and the opportunity to share this day with us, this moment with Chris.

And we are -- besides Chris representing it -- we have a number of athletes out here and all over the country that are participating in sports and realizing their potential and finding out what they're all about because they do participate -- and hope that you'll continue to carry that message. And we certainly know that you are a living example of it, and your family as well. But sports affects every part of our lives, and education certainly is a part of that. Drugs, everything that we're worried about -- sports is an alternative. So, we really appreciate your support.

The President. You know, there's something Chris said on that. Arnold Schwarzenegger's the new head of the Fitness Council. He was in here -- you probably noticed the change -- [laughter] -- but he was making the point, seriously, he was making the point how little of physical education goes on in the schools today -- much less, he feels, than it used to be. So, we're going to try to use that Council to put more emphasis on women's sports, men's sports, and sports for the kids or fitness. I mean, it is very, very important, and of course, I'm just delighted to hear your thoughts on that.

Ms. St. James. It's something I think our generation didn't know. I thought it was mandatory when I went to school. So, that's something that's gotten, I think, sloughed aside. So, we need to kind of bring it back to the forefront.

The President. Well, that's the end of the formalities. Now can I say hello? Come on up and say who everybody is.

Note: The President spoke at 11:46 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.