WASHINGTON—President George W. Bush delivered an encouraging motivational message to Beijing-bound Olympians Monday, urging them to "compete swifter, higher, and stronger in their pursuit of gold" so that they may achieve not just the glory of victory but the hard cash value of the much-needed commodity. "Truly, victory and pride are beyond price, but gold is currently going for $916.78 a troy ounce," Bush said in the Rose Garden speech, delivered just hours after he was unable to secure an agreement with the Chinese ambassador to forge the Olympic medals out of debt-relief certificates. "In striving, you uplift the hearts of all Americans, but in victory alone will you actually get something that can help us out of the current economic slump. I mean, silver is barely over 17 bucks. Might as well drop out at that rate." Bush later held a closed-door Oval Office meeting with swimmer Michael Phelps, whose possible eight gold medals could potentially help the Olympic team break even on travel costs.
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