President Bush sends off U.S. Olympians and Paralympians with encouraging words

July 21, 2008, 7:56 p.m. (ET)

President Bush hosted a group of about two-dozen Beijing bound Olympians and Paralympians this morning at an event held in the White House's Rose Garden. Bush congratulated the athletes on their success and accomplishments and encouraged them to "compete swifter, higher and stronger" as they head to the Olympic Games to represent the United States.

"You will convey our nation's most cherished values," the president said. "As ambassadors of liberty, you will represent America's love for freedom and our regard for human rights and human dignity ... to other athletes and to the people of China."

President Bush will be attending the opening ceremony on August 8, as well as the first few days of competition.

"I can't wait to salute our athletes, and I can't wait to share in the joy of your triumphs," Bush said.