United States first lady Jill Biden will be leading the US delegation to Tokyo Olympics at the opening ceremony on July 23, White House announced on Tuesday. Jill will be attending the opening ceremony without her husband, US President Joe Biden. This will be the first time since 2012 that a US first lady will be heading the delegation for such events. White House secretary Jen Psaki had earlier mentioned that the US President would not be attending the Olympics but would send a delegation instead, as done traditionally before.
Notably, then first lady Michelle Obama had led a delegation in 2012 Summer Olympics to London. Talking about Jill, she had attended the Games last time in 2010, when her husband Joe Biden, the then vice-president was leading the US delegation. This marks the first lady’s maiden solo international trip abroad since her husband took office.
White House sends team to Tokyo ahead of Jill’s visit to assess feasibility
Ahead of the US first lady’s significant visit to Tokyo for heading the US delegation, the White House sent an advance team to Tokyo in order to assess the feasibility for Jill. Biden got her vaccination done in the month of January before her husband was elected as the president.
Besides Michelle Obama, many other first ladies have also represented the US at the Olympics. Hillary Clinton led the delegation at the 1995 Winter Games and 1996 Atlanta Games. Additionally, Lara Bush too led the US delegation to Turin Olympics in 2006, besides accompanying her husband in 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be played behind closed doors without the presence of fans. The decision was taken upon consulting Olympics officials as the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the Japan capital forced the Japanese government to declare emergency in Tokyo and neighboring areas. The marquee event is set to kick off on July 23 and conclude on August 8 with over 11,000 athletes competing across categories against each other.