First lady Jill Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony of the 2021 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, the White House said on Tuesday.
The Tokyo Games, which were postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will not have fans in attendance.
The opening ceremony of the 2021 games is scheduled for July 23. The trip will be Biden’s second journey abroad as first lady. She accompanied President BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE on his first foreign trip in June to Europe.
The White House said earlier this year that President Biden would not attend the games but plans were being assessed in recent weeks to determine whether the first lady would attend them.
It won’t be Jill BidenJill BidenPresident, first lady honor teachers at White House awards ceremony Harris to campaign with McAuliffe in Virginia The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Remembrances flow in after Powell's death MORE’s first time attending the games in an official position. The Bidens led the U.S. delegation to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, when Joe Biden was vice president and Jill Biden was second lady.
This year’s games will look quite different than those in the past due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders announced last week that there would be no fans allowed at the games after a new state of emergency was declared due to rising coronavirus infections.
"We wanted a full stadium so community people could get involved in welcoming the athletes so we could have a full presentation of the power of sports," Japan Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto said at a press conference last Thursday, announcing the decision. "However, now faced with COVID-19 we have no other choice but to hold the games in a limited way."
Jill Biden, like other White House officials, has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The White House is expected to announce further details about the trip in the coming days.
Biden has been a prominent messenger for the Biden White House since President Biden took office in January, and her trip to the Olympics is sure to further raise her profile.
The first lady has been traversing the country to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and promote the White House’s economic agenda. She has also relaunched her signature military families initiative, which she started with then-first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaYouTube confirms it picked kids featured in Harris video Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Gears begin to shift in Congress on stalled Biden agenda MORE during the Obama administration when she was serving as second lady.
--Updated at 8:08 a.m.