President Biden to Olympic, Paralympic teams at White House: You’ve been through so much

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President Joe Biden feted about 600 members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams from the Tokyo and Beijing Games. in one of, if not the largest gathering of Team USA athletes at the White House on Wednesday.

“You’ve been through so darn much,” Biden said in a speech on the South Lawn, standing in front of the athletes and noting the coronavirus pandemic postponing the Summer Games by one year.

Biden, who attended the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games as vice president, said that his family’s favorite part of the most recent Olympics was watching the athletes’ families reactions.

“We learned about how big and diverse and talented, how great this nation is,” he said. “There’s no quit in America. You’re the quintessential example of that.”

Traditionally, Olympic and Paralympic teams visit the White House soon after the Paralympics end.

That was not the case after the most recent Summer Games, which for the first time since 1992 were held within the same 12-month span as a Winter Games due to the one-year pandemic postponement.

At White House visits, the athletes generally meet the president in small groups. Biden said Wednesday’s delegation included athletes with more than 260 medals.

“Thanks for letting me hold those medals,” he said. “Made me feel important for a second.”

Biden introduced five-time Olympic medalist bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor to give a speech. “That’s my pilot!” an athlete, likely her bronze-medal teammate Sylvia Hoffman, yelled behind them.

“This is a moment that is truly beyond the imagination of many of our dreams,” said Meyers Taylor, who came out of quarantine in China to win silver and bronze medals. “As a team, Olympians, Paralympians, summer athletes, winter athletes, we’ve been through a lot. A pandemic. A postponement. A war. But this team is resilient. We came together, and we persevered, and we hope we’ve made this country proud.”

Biden, standing to the side, interjected.

“You did,” he said.

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