WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama led hundreds of local children in doing one minute of jumping jacks on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday in an effort to jump right into Guinness World Records.
Mrs. Obama’s aim: To help break the title for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. To accomplish that, more than 20,000 people around the world will need to do jumping jacks for a minute. The event on the South Lawn signaled the beginning of the daylong challenge.
Dressed in black stretch pants, a green tank top, magenta sweatshirt and sneakers, Mrs. Obama spoke to the 400 or so kids before the official jumping began. (She also did a bit of wrangling to keep the elementary and middle-school students from Washington, Maryland and Virginia in orderly lines so they could be counted.)Slideshow: Michelle Obama's effortless style (on this page)
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“I’m the first lady and I get to do a lot of things, but this is really exciting,” Mrs. Obama said before the jumping began. “I never thought I would break a world record.”
To break the record, more than 20,425 people from around the world must be recorded doing jumping jacks by 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday. National Geographic Kids magazine is supporting the effort by hosting events across the country in schools, malls and other places.
The first lady is involved because of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to help combat childhood obesity and promote physical fitness and healthy eating for children.
“We are going to have fun breaking a record, but also getting some exercise,” Mrs. Obama said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re going to show people exercising is fun. You can get moving in your backyard, walking your dog or doing jumping jacks. There are so many ways to get moving! ... Ready, set, go!”
The children’s nice orderly lines quickly broke down as everyone jumped all over the place for a full minute.
Once the jumping was over, cheering kids surrounded the first lady. Secret Service agents rushed in to give her some room as she greeted her fellow jumpers and gave out hugs.
Mrs. Obama was joined Tuesday by TODAY weather anchor Al Roker and Olympic ice skater Michelle Kwan, a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She hopes the event at the White House will inspire thousands more children to do jumping jacks for a full minute on Tuesday and Wednesday.Slideshow: Guinness World Records 2012 (on this page)
At one planned event, children at Highland Park Elementary in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area intended to jump their hearts out on Tuesday afternoon. KARE-TV reported that Highland Park first-grader Lizzie Hamill read about the "Let's Jump" campaign in her National Geographic Kids magazine and took the idea to her gym teacher and principal.
All such events will be reviewed by an official from Guinness World Records to determine whether the record-breaking number of 20,425 jumpers is reached.
To see Al Roker’s interview with first lady Michelle Obama, tune in to TODAY on Wednesday morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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