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First lady Jill Biden to lead White House delegation for Tokyo Olympics

Jill Biden Tokyo Olympics

US First Lady Jill Biden waves as she walks off the plane as she arrives in Savannah, Georgia on July 8, 2021. - First Lady Biden will be visiting a vaccination facility in Savannah, Georgia and then will travel to Orlando, Florida to attend the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals. (Photo by Jim WATSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden will lead the White House delegation to the Tokyo Olympics and attend the Opening Ceremony on July 23, according to NBC News and TODAY.

President Joe Biden was not planning to attend the Games, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on June 28.

“He will certainly be rooting for the athletes,” Psaki said then.

One U.S. president has attended an Olympics held outside the U.S. — George W. Bush at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. The last first lady to lead a White House delegation to an Olympics was Michelle Obama in 2012.

The Bidens headed the White House delegation to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games when Joe Biden was vice president.

He stuck around for some early competition, including watching a U.S. women’s hockey game with 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey captain Mike Eruzione. Eruzione, plus 1968 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Peggy Fleming and 2002 bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers, were part of that delegation sent by President Barack Obama.

Biden, a former high school and (briefly) college football player, marveled at the character of the American athletes.

“I told them that it’s an amazing thing to me, as a guy who when he was a kid in high school and college thought he was an athlete, the idea that they risk failure in front of so many people,” Biden said in Vancouver. “It takes a lot of guts, man.

“I think the reason that why we admire them so much is not so much they’re the greatest athletes, they are, but there’s other people equally with as much physical prowess, but these kids have character, man.”

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