Jill Biden To Represent US At Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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First Lady Jill Biden will represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony on July 23, NBC’s “TODAY” reported. 

Biden attended the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when her husband represented the U.S. as vice president, according to “TODAY.”

President Joe Biden made the decision not to attend the Olympics on June 28, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “He will certainly be rooting for the athletes,” according to a White House press release

“We will have a delegation from the United States as we have historically had, but we will continue to also convey the public health guidelines and guidance that we have been delivering out there about only essential travel,” Psaki said. 

It is not unusual for first ladies to represent the U.S. at the Olympics, and this will be Biden’s first solo foreign trip, according to the AP.

Hillary Clinton represented the U.S. at the 1994 Lillehammer Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games, the AP reported. Laura Bush led the U.S. delegation at the 2006 Turin Games and also traveled with her husband to the opening ceremony at the 2008 Beijing games.

Michelle Obama represented the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics, the AP reported.

Japan declared a state of emergency on Thursday, banning all spectators from the Olympic games, Japanese and Olympic officials said in a statement. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: The Olympic Transgender Policy Just Disqualified Two Women From Competing)

“In response to the state of emergency, stricter measures with regard to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have also been decided by the three Japanese parties. No spectators will be allowed into any venues in Tokyo during the Olympic Games,” the statement read.

Tokyo saw 614 new COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, the 22nd consecutive week of rising cases, according to CNN.  

Japan has had a slow vaccine rollout due to supply chain constraints as only 28% of the population has had at least one shot, according to CNN. 

The country has seen a total 815,440 cases and 15,000 deaths since the pandemic started, according to CNN.