May 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden praises Team USA for helping "unite the nation"

Photo of Joe Biden speaking from a podium with rows of people wearing white standing behind him and seated at wheelchairs beside him
President Biden delivers remarks while welcoming members of Team USA during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on May 4. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden honored U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the White House on Wednesday, praising Team USA for uniting the nation in a time of deep political divisions.

Why it matters: The gathering is the first time the White House has hosted Olympians and Paralympians since the pandemic started, and included almost 600 athletes, more than 200 of whom medaled at the Tokyo and Beijing Games.

What he's saying: "The pandemic made training and competing especially difficult and draining. But you did it," Biden said in his speech. "And we were in awe not just of your incredible athleticism but your endurance and your state of mind — but most of all your character."

  • "There are people you'll never meet who witnessed how hard you competed, trained, and pushed yourself. And you helped them believe in themselves.  You’ve helped them believe that they can do things that, 'Maybe, maybe — just maybe I can," Biden continued.
  • "They look at you and see that despite the emotional, mental, and financial and physical toll ... you just don’t quit," he added.

Worth noting: Biden told the athletes they helped "unite the nation" through sports.

  • "We’ve been a very divided nation philosophically of late, but you brought us together.  For no matter the divisions, when we see you compete, we feel a common pride in those three letters: U-S-A. ... It crosses all political spectrums."
  • "I want to thank you for showing what we can do together as one America and one Team USA."
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