Olympics-Biden invites Tokyo, Beijing athletes to White House in unique event

U.S. President Joe Biden announces proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Joe Biden announces his budget proposal for fiscal year 2023, as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young listens in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 28, 2022

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden has invited more than 800 Olympians and Paralympians from the Tokyo Summer and Beijing Winter Games to the White House in early May, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said Monday.

The reception will be a “first of its kind” event, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said, bringing together delegations from two different Games at once.

“Not an easy task, but I think we’ve proven Team USA and the team behind the team is more than capable of doing hard things,” Hirshland told reporters.

A late surge put the U.S. top of the medals table in Tokyo last year, with 39 golds and 113 overall, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a 12-month postponement of the Summer Games.

The U.S. finished fourth in the medals standings at this year’s Beijing Olympics with eight golds and 25 in total.

“For athletes (who) take so much pride in representing the United States, this is a really great honor,” said Hirshland.

“It’s also a great opportunity for them to reconnect outside the Games environment and for us to gather and truly celebrate all that they accomplished.”

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)