Presidents and the Pros
Before the 2008 Summer Olympics, around 20 select athletes were invited to the White House. Of these 20 athletes, this included beach volleyball greats Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser, Misty May and Kerri Walsh. Upon arriving, the athletes had a press conference in the rose garden with over 200 media professionals present. After speaking to the media, Rogers was expecting to go back to his hotel. Instead, he and the other athletes were asked to go to the Oval Office to meet the President of the United States at the time, George W. Bush. Being a sports fan, President Bush wanted to personally meet these 20 standout athletes. Once in the Oval Office, he made his way down the line of athletes, which he all knew by name, and introduced himself. Rogers happened to be the very last athlete in line. As the other athletes filed out of the Oval Office, President Bush came up to Rogers and shook his hand. “The crazy part for me was that I was in there for a couple minutes; President Bush was wishing me good luck at the Olympics and telling me I’ll do great. It was literally just President Bush, this Secret Service guy, and me in the Oval Office at the White House. I was literally in awe.” That evening the athletes were invited to a state dinner with over 180 people in attendance. At the dinner, the athletes also had the privilege of meeting former President George W. H. Bush. That was a very surreal day for Rogers, but it didn’t end there. In Beijing, Rogers and Dalhausser were practicing before Olympic competition started. They noticed a ton of big, black suburban’s pull up to the beach volleyball courts, and out walks President Bush. He came over and said hello to Rogers, Dalhausser, Walsh and May and took some photos with them. “It was amusing to see him in his informal wear with tons of Secret Service in black suits all around him.” Rogers also mentioned that the beach volleyball players from other countries recognized him at the venue and ran over to see him. “Being an Olympian is amazing, but getting to meet the President on top of that is pretty special.” Ross and Kessy have also had the honor of meeting President Obama at the White House, and former President Bill Clinton at his foundation in Palm Springs, California.