Joe and Jill Biden praise U.S. Olympians in call with team

Joe Biden praises Simone Biles for putting her mental health first as he and Jill invite U.S. Olympians to White House in congratulatory zoom call

  • Joe and Jill Biden held a congratulatory zoom call with U.S. Olympic athletes ahead of Sunday’s closing ceremony in Tokyo
  • First couple invited them to the White House in the fall 
  • ‘You just make me so damn proud,’ Biden said on the 20 minute call 
  • ‘We just could not feel more proud of all of you, and everything you did in representing our country,’ the first lady said
  • President praised gymnast Simone Biles for putting her mental health first
  • ‘Putting my mental and my physical health first will probably be one of my greatest accomplishments,’ Biles told the Bidens 

President Joe Biden told U.S. Olympic athletes on Saturday that they made him ‘so damn proud’ and he singled out Simone Biles for her mental courage during the games.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined several Olympians on a zoom call, where the president praised the group for ‘moral courage’ and ‘courage under pressure.’

‘You’re handling yourself with such grace and such such decency, you just make me so damn proud,’ he said on the 20 minute call, which he and Jill conducted from their home in Wilmington, Del.

The first couple also invited the Olympians to the White House this fall for a celebration.

‘In the fall, we’ll set a date, and love to have you all come to the White House, if you’re if you’re willing to do that. So then the nation can see you and I can brag more on you,’ he said.

‘We can’t wait to see you,’ the first lady said.

Joe and Jill Biden held a congratulatory zoom call with U.S. Olympic athletes ahead of Sunday’s closing ceremony in Tokyo

Jill Biden thanked the athletes for giving her a warm welcome when she was in Tokyo for the Opening Ceremony. The Bidens spoke to the athletes ahead of Sunday’s Closing ceremony.

‘We just could not feel more proud of all of you, and everything you did in representing our country,’ the first lady said.

The first couple wore patriotic colors during their conversation. The president wore a USA cap. Jill Biden wore a white jacket with blue trim and a red scarf.

Both Bidens praised the athletes for their persistence in training during the pandemic and staying strong in delays in the summer games caused by the it.

Biden singled out swimmer Katie Ledecky, who he said ‘can probably swim a mile quicker than most people could run a mile,’ and Biles in his remarks.

‘Simone Biles, I mean, the courage you had to get back up that beam after, at the very end you still win the bronze,’ he noted.

Biles thanked the Bidens in brief remarks.

‘It’s been a long journey. The Olympics was not how I expected it to go but putting my mental and my physical health first will probably be one of my greatest accomplishments,’ she said.

Biles left Tokyo on Wednesday and spoke to the Bidens from her home. She stunned the world when she withdrew from some Olympic events and ultimately won the bronze medal on the balance beam. 

‘You set an example. I really mean it Simone,’ Biden told her.

He praised her for having the courage to say she needed help.

‘You have the courage to say, I need some help. And you gave an example to everybody. And guess what, you got back up on that damn beam, by the way, what scares me the most is the damn beam,’ Biden noted.

‘I tell you what, doing a flip on a 4-inch beam is my idea of going to purgatory,’ he added.

Jill Biden praised her and the rest of the team for bringing the country joy as the nation struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.

‘You brought us joy and I think this country has really been through, just a, you know, has needed healing. And I think that all the athletes and the games really brought Americans together and brought us joy again and for that I thank you,’ she said.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden invited the U.S. Olympic athletes to the White House this fall during their zoom call with them

President Joe Biden praised Simone Biles for putting her mental health first – above she competes on the balance beam

Isaiah Jewett spoke to the Bidens about how Nijel Amos of Team Botswana jogged together after falling during the Men’s 800 Meters Seminal on day nine of the games

Biles and two other athletes spoke to the Bidens about their Olympic experience. 

Javelin thrower Kara Winger, who will carry the American flag in the closing ceremony, talked about the honor she felt in being chosen to do so in her last Olympics.

‘I can put into words so just incredibly very excited, really amazed,’ she said, ‘in my last Olympic game since I’ve never been on that podium.’

‘They picked you because of your character kid,’ Biden told her.

‘It’s wild. It’s the biggest honor of my life,’ she replied.  

The Bidens also spoke to runner Isaiah Jewett, who became entangled with Botswana’s Nijel Amos during the men’s 800 meters. 

Both men fell, helped each other up, put their arms around each other and finished together – 54 seconds behind the first place finisher.

‘This is bigger than me like,’ Jewett told the Bidens. ‘I just wanted to do whatever I could to say like hey man, it’s okay let’s, let’s finish this race together.’

Jill Biden told him: ‘You are our hero.’

On the call, Biden told the athletes he had dreamed of being a professional football player. 

‘I had to give it up because I become president, what the hell I settled,’ he joked.

Earlier Saturday, President Biden posted a video to Twitter congratulating U.S. Olympians on a job well done. 

‘Thank you for all you mean to our country,’ he said.  ‘As sports often do it raises issues that we should all care about, like our physical and mental wellness.’ 

In the Tokyo games, the United States is second to China in gold medals with 36 to 38. The U.S. has the most overall medals with 108.

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