Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

‘These kids have character': When Joe Biden met Team USA at the Olympics

Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden chat with Lester Holt and comment on the excitement and exhilaration of the experiencing the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in person.

President-elect Joe Biden headed the U.S. delegation to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, where he had a memorable meeting with snowboarder Shaun White.

Biden, then the vice president, and wife Dr. Jill Biden met the U.S. Olympic team before the Opening Ceremony. His granddaughters were also there, looking to meet one athlete in particular.

“The little one, her name is Maisy, said, ‘Pop, Shaun White is here. Shaun, can we see him?” Biden told NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt in Vancouver. “I met with [the athletes], and the whole snowboard team said, ‘Can we have a picture with you, Mr. Vice President?’ I said, ‘On one condition. My granddaughter can get in it.’ And they loved it.

“Let me tell you something, I’m a hero. All that matters is what your granddaughters think.”

Biden 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 the U.S. 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. “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.”

“And a lot of heart,” Jill Biden added.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!