The U.S. will not send a diplomatic delegation to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, while President Joe Biden‘s administration is giving the U.S. athletes headed to Beijing in February its full support.
The to-be-named U.S. Olympic team of more than 200 athletes, among the largest of all nations, will compete at the Winter Games, which open Feb. 4.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games given [China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games. U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these Games as business as usual in the face of [China’s] egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that.”
USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland released a statement Monday afternoon.
“We greatly appreciate the unwavering support of the President and his administration and we know they will be cheering us on from home this winter,” it read. “Competing on behalf of the United States is an honor and a privilege, and Team USA is excited and ready to make the nation proud.”
Typically, the president names a group of politicians, other dignitaries and/or retired athletes to attend the Opening Ceremony, Closing Ceremony or Olympic or Paralympic competition in between. First lady Jill Biden led the delegation for the Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony.
One sitting U.S. president has attended an Olympics held outside the U.S. — George W. Bush at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, according to The Associated Press.
President Biden had said last month that his office was considering not sending a delegation to the Games.
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