Obama: U.S. Has Advantage Over China in Olympics Due to ‘Bigger Genetic Pool’

By CNSNews.com Staff | November 23, 2016 | 11:39 AM EST

President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama said at town hall meeting at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima, Peru, on Sunday that one of the reasons the United States has an advantage over China in the Olympics is because the U.S. has “a bigger genetic pool than anybody.”

“You notice that the United States did really well in the Olympics,” Obama said, according to the transcript of the town hall posted by the White House.

“Now, some of that is because we're a big country, we're a wealthy country, so we have all these training facilities and we can do all kinds of--best equipment.  All that is true,” Obama said. “But you know what, China is a bigger country and spends a lot of money also. The big advantage that America has, if you look at our team--actually, two big advantages.  First, we passed something called Title IX many years ago that requires that women get the same opportunities in sports as men do.”

A moment later, the president explained the second advantage.

“But the second thing--you look at a U.S. Olympic team and there are all kinds of different sorts of people of all different shapes and sizes,” Obama said. “And part of it is because we draw from a bigger genetic pool than anybody--right? We have people who--these little gymnasts, they're like this big. Simone Biles came by the White House. She's a tiny little thing. Amazing athlete. Then we have Michael Phelps, he's 6'8" and his shoulders are this big.  And that's good for swimming. He couldn’t do gymnastics, but he's a really good swimmer.”

Here is an excerpt from the president’s presentation as presented in the White House transcript:

Look, America is a nation of immigrants. Those of you who visited America, if you walk in an American city -- not just New York or Los Angeles, but St. Louis or Indianapolis or Columbus, Ohio -- if you walk down the street, you see people that look like they could be from anyplace. Because the fact is, is that except for the Native American populations, everybody in America came from someplace else. All of us are immigrants. And that's been our greatest strength, because we've been able to attract talent from everywhere. 

I use this as an example: You notice that the United States did really well in the Olympics.  Now, some of that is because we're a big country, we're a wealthy country, so we have all these training facilities and we can do all kinds of -- best equipment.  All that is true.  But you know what, China is a bigger country and spends a lot of money also.  The big advantage that America has, if you look at our team -- actually, two big advantages.  First, we passed something called Title IX many years ago that requires that women get the same opportunities in sports as men do.  (Applause.)  And that's why -- one of the reasons the American teams did so well is the women were amazing, and just because they've gotten opportunities.  Right?  Which teaches us something about the need to make sure that women and men, boys and girls, get the same opportunities.  Because you do better when everybody has a chance, not just some. 

But the second thing -- you look at a U.S. Olympic team and there are all kinds of different sorts of people of all different shapes and sizes.  And part of it is because we draw from a bigger genetic pool than anybody -- right?  We have people who -- these little gymnasts, they're like this big.  Simone Biles came by the White House.  She's a tiny little thing.  Amazing athlete.  Then we have Michael Phelps, he's 6'8" and his shoulders are this big.  And that's good for swimming.  He couldn’t do gymnastics, but he's a really good swimmer.

The point is, is that when you have all this talent from all these different places, then you actually, as a team, do better.  And that's been the great gift of America.