The Delegation is joined by Ambassador Foley at the airport in Toyko.
Digital photography by Tipper Gore.
I've loved sports all my life and have followed the Olympic Games as long
as I can remember. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when President
Clinton invited me to lead the U.S. Presidential Delegation to the 1998 Winter
Olympics in Nagano. I checked my history books to learn a little more
about the role of the U.S. Presidential Delegation in the Olympic tradition.
The involvement of the President of the United States with the Olympic
Games dates back to 1908 when Teddy Roosevelt hosted the athletes and officials
of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) after the Summer Games in
London. He was designated Honorary President of the USOC, especially for the
sense of humor he displayed in greeting the returning athletes with a
caged lion (the British mascot).
Vice President Mondale was the first to head a group of delegates to the
Winter Games in Lake Placid. Not all Heads of Delegations have been
officeholders. In addition to Presidents and Vice Presidents, their wives and sometimes
even family members have taken on that role. In 1992, Arnold Schwarzenegger
was asked by President Bush to head the Delegation to Barcelona.
Jodi Cobb, Rudy Galindo, Mary Lou Retton, Dr. Tenley
Albright, Herbie Hancock, Beth Renge and Scott Oki.
Delegation members have traditionally been a mix of individuals who
represent our country and also have ties to the host country. The U.S.
Presidential Delegation assembled to travel to Nagano includes individuals from across
the nation who have distinguished themselves in so many ways.
Ambassador Thomas Foley took up the diplomatic post to Japan November,
1997. As Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, he was noted for
his efforts to strengthen Japanese American ties, among his other
accomplishments over a distinguished 30 year career.
Herbie Hancock, Mary Lou Retton and Rudy Galindo on the
flight to Japan. Digital Photography by Tipper Gore.
They are Olympians, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, athletes and
After a 15 hour flight, we've talked, laughed and gotten to know each
better. They are a terrific group and I am so proud to share this unique
experience with them. Together we salute the athletes who have worked
their lives for this moment and celebrate the spirit of the 1998 Olympic
Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton captured our hearts during the
1984 Games in Los Angeles when she landed a perfect "10" vault to win the
All-Around Gold Medal in gymnastics.
Dr. Tenley Albright began ice skating at the age of 10 to overcome
polio. By the age of 20, she had won every major figure skating championship
possible, including a gold medal in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Italy.
In one of the most memorable moments in American figure skating, Rudy
Galindo triumphed at the 1996 U.S. Championships. Skating in his
hometown of San Jose, California, he staged an upset victory to become the oldest
(26) gold medalist in 70 years, and the first Mexican American.
Herbie Hancock began his musical career as a child prodigy, performing
Mozart with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11, and has grown to
become one of the world's best known and best loved jazz musicians.
Scott Oki introduced the Windows centric strategy to Microsoft in
After 10 years with the software company, he retired to found his own
company, Oki Development, and to create the Oki Foundation benefitting children.
Jodi Cobb has been a staff photographer for National Geographic since
1978. She was one of the first photographers to cross China when it reopened to
the West, travelling 7,000 miles in two months for her book Journey Into
China. More recently she entered another world closed to outsiders, the world of
the Japanese geisha, for her photography book Geisha.
Beth Renge is the first Japanese American woman to own a broker-dealer
investment securities firm. Since 1985, she has participated with
ruling Liberal Democratic Party as one of six Japanese Americans to serve
bridge between the United States and Japan.