Michelle Obama on Olympics: British "know what they're doing"

Michelle Obama during interview with Mark Phillips

(CBS News) LONDON - First lady Michelle Obama is in London to represent the president at tonight's Olympics opening ceremony.

As the leader of the U.S. delegation, she also plans to attend some of the early events, particularly swimming and basketball.

Complete Coverage: 2012 London Olympics

President Obama's likely rival in the fall, Mitt Romney, made headlines in London when he questioned how prepared Britain is to stage the Games, resulting in slaps on the wrist from local politicians.

This is Michelle Obama's first Olympics, but she's been around the international scene long enough to know a loaded question when she hears one.

Asked by CBS News how she thinks the preparations have gone, she replied, "Oh, my goodness, the United Kingdom, they've had a phenomenal year. I mean, they've pulled off a major wedding, a Diamond Jubilee and now, the Olympics. They know what they're doing.

"So we're just excited to be here," Mrs. Obama said.

"And I am just honored to be able to represent the United States. I mean, truly that's what this is all about. It's about these athletes and the stories that they tell. The inspiration that they transmit to the rest of the world, particularly kids in our country."

Mrs. Obama pointed out that the Olympics present a great opportunity to get kids to see the value in staying in shape and eating right.

She also said that, while getting to hold an Olympics is special, the sky-high cost means cities should decide on a case-by-case basis whether to bid for one.

To see the full interview, click on the video in the player above.

  • Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent, based in London.