Former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush were all smiles as they oversaw the coin toss at Super Bowl LI on Sunday, marking their first public event since being hospitalized within days of each other.
The former president, 92, wore a suit with no tie, while his wife of 71 years, 91, donned a blue blouse with a red scarf and beige slacks to kick off the match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots in Houston. The 41st president was taken to the coin toss on a wheelchair while his wife rode alongside him on a golf cart.
The Bushes were greeted with applause and a standing ovation from the crowd, including a smile and a cheer from Vice President Mike Pence, who was on hand to watch the game.
The winner of the coin toss? The Falcons.
In a statement, the family’s spokesperson Jim McGrath announced the news that the couple would attend the annual NFL event.
“Pres/Mrs @GeorgeHWBush are honored by @NFL Commissioner Goddell’s kind invite to flip the coin b4 #SuperBowl, and are looking forward to it,” McGrath tweeted on Wednesday.
The tweet came just two days after the 41st president was released from the hospital last Monday after being treated for pneumonia.
“He is thankful for the many prayers and kind messages he received during his stay, as well as the world-class care that both his doctors and nurses provided,” McGrath said at the time.
George H.W. was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Jan. 15, after experiencing “shortness of breath.” He was later admitted to the ICU to address “an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia,” according to a previous statement from his office. His hospitalization forced him to sit out President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Bush’s wife was admitted to the same hospital on Jan. 18 as a “precaution.” Doctors later said she was suffering from bronchitis. She was discharged from the hospital last Monday — though she stayed an extra night in the hospital to be “closer to her husband,” McGrath said in a statement at the time.