No one likes being called in on their day off — but when the President specifically asks for you to lead his tour, how can you say no?

Three time Paralympian and current US Paralympics Swim Coach Michael Prout talks about meeting President Obama when he trained, lived, and worked at the US Olympic Training Facility in Colorado before the 2012 London Paralympic Games.


Read the full transcript:

Michael Prout, US Paralympic Swimming: While I was living at the training center, I also worked as a tour ambassador, so I would give tours to the general public of the facilities or corporate sponsors when they would come in, as well.

And so, I was asked — I got a phone call, basically, the afternoon that that was happening, saying, “Oh, please come down to the Visitor’s Center,” because it was my day off. There was somebody that had requested me specifically for a tour.

And I was a little skeptical about who was going to be there, because I’ve been watching TV and saw a banner along the bottom that the President had made a surprise stop at a college earlier that day in the area. So, I don’t think that was that.

But there it also been one of his — later I came to find out it was a Secret Service agent — had been tailing some of my tours over the past couple weeks prior to that. And, he met me at the Visitor’s Center when I got there and explained everything, that it was going on and that I was going to be given a tour to the President.

When I was walking from my room down to the Visitor’s Center along the pathway, there was all police, Secret Service with wands waving people down, and I was able to kind of just walk straight on through because they had already probably gotten my picture or something along those lines. So, it was a surreal experience.

And then, we did a quick photo shoot, shook hands, and had a nice conversation. And then I was able to lead them around for about twenty, twenty five minutes to a couple of different areas, meet a couple of different athletes, and just kind of chat about — he was interested in what I was doing leading up to the Games.

I was also a team Captain, so he wanted to know what that entailed. He asked about, you know, my diet — my diet because of everybody in the past talking about Michael Phelps and how much he needs to eat. So, wondering how much, you know, other swimmers eat.

So, he was really engaged, and it was a really good time, and he was super easy to talk to, and walked him back out and away. And then he took off with his huge motorcade of I don’t even know how many black SUVs. And and it was just an experience that I didn’t expect to have and certainly would never have imagined it.

So, it was it was just kind of cool and like I said, really surreal while it was happening.

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Now, what are you looking forward to most at this year’s 2020 Paralympics, as a coach?

Michael Prout: As a coach, it’s the first time that I’ll be at the Games as a coach. So, Just making sure that my focus is on the athletes and maximizing their ability to race and to win medals and to have whatever it is they need, recovery-wise or along any any of those lines.

So, it’s going to be about that. You know, I’m there to support them. They’re the stars of the show. Since I’ve been on the other side, I understand that a little bit better, I think, than some of the other, you know, coaches that have only been on the coaching side.

So, I think that it’ll help me to do the best that I can for the athletes and do my part and be wherever is needed and whatever that entails.