‘You made me so damn proud’: Biden praises Olympians & invites them to the White House
WASHINGTON / CNN — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with members of the 2020 US Olympic Team Saturday in a live-streamed virtual reception.
“You handle yourself with such grace, and such decency, it just — you made me so damn proud,” the President told the group of Olympic athletes over Zoom from his home in Delaware, where the first couple is spending the weekend.
Biden offered shoutouts to gymnast Simone Biles, runner Isaiah Jewett, and swimmer Katie Ledecky, who he said, “can probably swim a mile quicker than most people could run a mile.”
He also invited Team USA to visit him at the White House in the fall.
“I need a promise from all of you — you’ll all come see us in the White House in the fall,” Biden said. “We’ll set a date, and I’d love to have you all come to the White House, if you’re willing to do that, so the nation can see, and I can brag more on you.”
The President praised the athletes’ performance abroad, telling those conferencing in, “I just can’t tell you how, you know, you remind us of what an amazing country we are, and you make us look so good as a country.”
“These are the things that people look at around the world — more than anything that I do as your President, or other people do in public life, they get the impression of who we are as Americans, who we are …,” Biden added. “Thank you, thank you for the joy, the pride, the hope, the hope you gave us. That’s what you did — you gave people so much hope.”
Earlier last month, first lady Jill Biden was one of 950 VIPs invited to attend the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Tokyo, where, during her brief time attending the games, she took the role of cheerleader-in-chief, both literal and figural.
“Becoming an Olympian is a rare accomplishment in a normal time. But you did it during a global pandemic,” she told athletes during a virtual conversation in the Olympic Village. “In these moments we are more than our cities or states or backgrounds. We are more than our jobs or our political parties.”
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