Michelle Obama shares how Olympics has brought memories of father's struggle with multiple sclerosis flooding back as she remembers 'special time'
By Kristie Lau
PUBLISHED: 13:59 EST, 27 July 2012 | UPDATED: 13:59 EST, 27 July 2012
The First Lady has spoken further about her late father's battle with multiple sclerosis.
In London today, Michelle Obama recalled fond memories of her father, Fraser Robinson III, watching the Olympics to help retain his own athletic spirit.
Although she touched on the subject in March when she was interviewed by TV host David Letterman, she spoke even more candidly about the positive effect that her father had on her childhood.
Strength: The First Lady, seen today, has spoken again about the positive impact her father had on her childhood. Fraser Robinson III died of multiple sclerosis while she was working as a corporate attorney in Chicago
Mrs Obama said at the University of East London this morning that watching the Olympics had inspired her father.
He passed away from multiple sclerosis when the First Lady was working as a corporate attorney in Chicago, three years after studying at Harvard Law.
'In a matter of several years he went from a man who was once a thriving competitor - he was a boxer and swimmer throughout high school - and then he was stripped of all of his hopes,' she said.
'But he retained his love of sports truly. And the Olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage.'Adored: Her father (left) was inspired by watching the Olympics. He was a boxer and swimmer in high school. The family is pictured, including the First Lady's brother Craig (far left) and her mother Marian (right)
She had been addressing Team USA at their training base in London ahead of the Olympic Games, which are officially opened today.
She went on: 'You never know who you are inspiring. You just never know. From a family like ours on the south side of Chicago to young athletes who are going to pick up a soccer ball or start running after watching something that you all do.
'I know for many of you that's how you got here watching someone else ... we are proud of you all. You have got a country back home who is rooting for you every single second, so you have already won. And try to have some fun.'
The First Lady first spoke about her father's illness in March.
She chatted to TV host David Letterman about him on his late night program. She said: 'I never knew him to be able to walk, but my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much, and I think from him I learned just absolute, complete unconditional love, the notion that kids really don’t need anything but to know that their parents adore them.'
Of course, the ever-upbeat Mrs Obama refused to let the interview turn too dark.
She then said: 'This isn't Oprah. It's supposed to be Letterman. What’s up? Where are the laughs?'