GOOD SPORTS: First Lady Michelle Obama cheered on American athletes, while members of the British royal family rooted for one of their own during the opening weekend of the Olympic Games. Obama, who has been in London since Thursday, sat with Venus Williams in the Williams’ family box on Saturday to watch Wimbledon champion Serena return to Centre Court to compete — and beat Jelena Jankovic of Serbia — in a women’s singles match. “They asked me did I mind if she sat in the family box,” Serena Williams told Press Association. “I was like, ‘Of course not. Please, it would be my honor.’ I love Michelle, so it was good. I gave her a thumbs-up just to acknowledge that I knew she was here.” Obama also gave a big hug to Ariel Hsing before she competed in the table tennis women’s singles match on Saturday. And the gesture clearly worked a treat: Hsing went on to beat Mexico’s Yadira Silva 4-0 and Luxembourg’s Xia Lian Ni 4-2 over the weekend.
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On Sunday, Princess Anne and her father, Prince Philip, braved bouts of heavy rainfall to cheer on Zara Phillips, who made her Olympic equestrian debut. Phillips competed in the eventing dressage competition on the second day of the London Games. Phillips’ mother, Princess Anne, is an award-winning equestrian who took part in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Her father, Mark Phillips, a high-profile figure in the British equestrian world who coaches the U.S. eventing team, won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich.
This story first appeared in the July 30, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.