Biden thanks Olympic athletes in video on Twitter

Biden thanks Olympic athletes in video on Twitter
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President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE on Saturday sent out a video message thanking U.S. athletes for representing the country in the Tokyo Olympics ahead of the event’s closing ceremony this weekend, commending their “courage” and resolve to push themselves amid the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Biden began the Twitter video by reflecting on how first lady Jill BidenJill BidenWhite House holiday decorations available for 360 tour via Google Street View The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud MORE described her trip to Tokyo to meet with athletes and lead the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony late last month. 

“When Jill came home from Tokyo, all she could talk about was you,” the president said in his address to U.S. Olympians. “Not just how incredible all of you athletes are and your endurance, and the years of dreams and sacrifices, but she talked about your character, your courage.” 

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Biden went on to acknowledge that “getting to the Olympics is a long journey, and the pandemic made it especially difficult and draining.” 

“It made the impossible even harder,” he added of the pandemic, which postponed the Tokyo Olympics a year. 

“But in you, the country saw itself, it saw what was possible,” the president continued, adding that there were so many “little kids dreaming to be you one day.” 

“Beyond the medals and the results, you remind us that we are stronger than we ever thought we were,” he said, noting that this year’s Olympics has raised “issues that we should all care about,” including “our physical and mental wellness.” 

Several accomplished athletes, most notably U.S. gymnast Simone Biles and tennis star Naomi Osaka, helped bring mental health to the forefront of the Olympic Games this year. 

While some called Biles a “quitter,” the athlete, who is considered by many to be the greatest gymnast of all time, attracted praise from many, including White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report Joe Biden: The Brian Williams presidency Biden plan for free at-home tests faces hurdles MORE, for her decision to pull out of several Olympic competitions to “focus on her mental health.” 

Biden on Saturday went on to describe how Team USA reflects the diversity of the country, “made up of people of every background from every part of the country.” 

“We are a people who dare to dream, who do hard things and do extraordinary things,” he added, thanking the U.S. athletes for “showing what we can do together, as one America, as one team.” 

The president said that he “looked forward” to hosting the Olympians at the White House upon their return from Tokyo. 

The closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place Sunday at 8 p.m. local time. 

Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, athletes have been told by Olympic organizers to travel home within two days of their last competition, with only a few thousand expected to attend the final ceremony. 

As of Saturday, the U.S. leads the total medal count for the Tokyo Olympics with 108 wins, though China has outpaced the country for gold medals, 38 to 36.