☷Remarks by President Biden at Team USA Olympic and Paralympic Athletes Visit
White House ( By Press Release office)
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South Lawn11:47 A . M . EDTTHE PRESIDENT: Thank you , thank you . Thank you , Jilly . You know , as the guy who heads up the Veterans Affairs for America — the big guy standing there — please sit down , guys — knows , I’m glad the Lord didn’t come down and give me a choice between being President and an Olympian . ( Laughter . ) I — I had all those Walter Mitty dreams , you know . And they weren’t about being President; they were about being a great athlete . I thought I was , you know , in high school and college . ( Laughter . ) But I tell you what , you all are incredible . You’re absolutely incredible . Welcome to the White House . Welcome to the White House . ( Applause . ) This is your house . This is the People’s House . The Bidens are a big sports family , and we love watching the Olympics . And Jill came home from Tokyo — all she could do was talk about you all constantly . You think I’m kidding . I’m not . ( Laughter . ) And we know that , no matter the results , we wanted to honor you here at the White House . I’m going — and I’m sorry you had to wait that year between the time it was set and the time to go . I mean , you’ve been through so damn — darn much . ( Laughter and applause . ) You’ve been through so much . Six hundred American Olympians and Paralympians from the Summer Games in Tokyo and the Winter Games in Beijing . Athletes from all across America , from all kinds of backgrounds — including 18 veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are here today . They’re here today . ( Applause . ) And more than 260 medals across a dozen sports , weighing a million pounds . ( Applause . ) Thanks for letting me hold those medals , man . It made me feel important for a second . ( Laughter . ) They are something else . Thank you . We also know the pride your families felt and how hard it was for them and for you that they couldn’t be there in person with you . Our favorite part of the Olympics — Jill and my family — was watching your families watch you . I’m not joking — watching your families watch you , learning about who you are . Because we learn about how big and diverse and talented — how great this nation is , just how diverse we are . The pandemic made training and competing especially difficult and draining . But you did it . You all did it . 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 . You all have such incredible character . No matter what event you compete in , you draw inspiration from your work — your hard work , your courage , your discipline as you watch it — as we watch you . I’m serious . Whether you’re a would - be athlete like me or you’ve never played a sport — I’m serious . You’re just — I — look at you . Look how you handle victory and defeat . It’s just astounding . Astounding . And as I was saying to a couple of the Paralympians , you inspire people . You inspire people around the world . You inspire them to pursue — to pursue their hopes and their dreams not just in sport but in life . I’ve had kids come up to me and say , “Did you see Did you see I think I can . ” Not a joke . You all know it . It’s real . 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 . ”They look at you and see that despite the emotional , mental , and financial , and physical toll , you’ve never gave up . You just don’t quit . As I said to our foreign leaders — my counterparts: There’s no quit in America . There’s just no quit . And you’re the quintessential example of that . There’s no quit in America . None . ( Applause . ) The power of your example gives so many people strength to never give up as well . It matters . It particularly matters today . Because of the pandemic , so much turmoil has occurred . So many people are dealing with problems , particularly little kids , in terms of health , mental health problems , and the like . You’ve given people so much hope . In you , I see who we are as a nation . The only nar - — nation in the world that can be defined by one word — one word . I was asked when I was in the Tibetan Plateau with Xi Jinping — and he looked at me . We had just — I had a simultaneous interpreter , and he had one . And he looked at me and he said , “Can you define America for me ” It’s a true story; it’s been published all over the world by now . And I said , “Yes , I can , in one word: possibilities . ”We believe: In America , anything is possible . And you are the explanation of what we mean . ( Applause . ) You are — it’s all about possibility , breaking limits . You represent the very soul of America , and that’s not hyperbole . You genuinely do . I’m sure you’ve been told this a thousand times since you’ve been home when the people talk to you and tell you about what they thought when they were watching you . You know , and as sports does like few things , you helped us unite the nation . 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 . I mean that . There’s a common pride . It crosses all political spectrums . You know , through the lows and the highs and the tears and the joy , we were with you every moment — with all of you — whether it was your first time competing or the culmination of your career . I want to thank you for showing what we can do together as one America and one Team USA . And now — now it’s my honor to introduce one of our amazing athletes , Elana Meyers Taylor . ( Applause . ) Hometown: Douglasville , Georgia . Her dad , a star football player at the Naval Academy before becoming a Marine . Like so many of you , she grew up playing sports: college softball here in D . C . at G . W . — George Washington University — as a pitcher and a shortstop . She came close to making the Olympic Softball Team , but never gave up on her Olympic dream . During the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake , she watched the American bobsledder Vonetta Flowers become the first Black athlete to win a gold medal at a Winter Games . ( Applause . ) And this is what I mean by inspiration . With her mom and her dad’s support , she switched sports , trained hard . You know she’s devoted — she even married a bobsledder . ( Laughter . ) Trained harder after becoming a mom . And after a silver and bronze in Beijing , she became the most decorated woman to ever compete in Olympic bobsled and the most decorated Black athlete in the Winter Olympics history . ( Applause . ) And she dedicated her medals to her beautiful baby boy , Nico . She carried our flag during the Closing Ceremonies . Today , she’s here to represent her fellow Olympians and our country at the White House . Elana , the podium is yours . You earned it . ( Applause . ) 11:55 A . M . EDT
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