May 5, 2022

President Biden and The First Lady Welcome Team USA to the White House 5/04/22 Transcript

President Biden and The First Lady Welcome Team USA to the White House 5/04/22 Transcript
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President Biden and The First Lady Welcome Team USA to the White House 5/04/22. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise, if able, for the singing of our national anthem by Sergeant First Class Adiza Jibril from the United States Army Band. (singing)

Jill Biden: (01:54)
Thank you so much. And I would like to say thank you to the band who has been playing since 8:30 this morning. Can we say thank you. So hello, Olympians and Paralympians. Welcome to the White House, Doug and I were so grateful to see your games in Japan, and Tokyo was the first time I had the opportunity to see a three on three women’s basketball game. And I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was everything I love about sports. Oh, you guys can sit down. Oh, I’ll start again. It was everything I love about sports. The moment when the team shows it seems to each other’s thoughts, the air is electric with that connection. When the crowd is breathing with one breath, our heart’s racing to the rhythm of each thump of the ball, every basket, pure joy. As I watched Stefanie, Allisha, Kelsey, and Jackie fly back and forth on that court, only one thing mattered to the crowd. We were all team USA.

Jill Biden: (03:39)
That’s the power of what all of you do. You don’t just play a game, run a race, hit a target, or win a competition. With every step, jump, roll, kick, and twirl, you show us the heights of our human potential. You show us how to fail and then get back up. You teach us that hard work and sacrifice and determination can push us beyond what we ever thought was in our reach. When we cheer you on, we are more than our cities or our states or our backgrounds. We are a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Jill Biden: (04:26)
You help us believe in the impossible, and leave our differences behind. Now, I know that these games may not have been exactly as you once imagined, with stadiums, packed with people and all of your loved ones, screaming from the sidelines, but you are all champions, just the same. Becoming an Olympian or a Paralympian is a rare accomplishment in a normal time, but you did it during a global pandemic. You are forever one of the most elite, most celebrated athletes in this world. I hope that you are proud of everything you have accomplished, because we all are. We are so proud of you.

Jill Biden: (05:29)
And we are grateful for the gifts you’ve given us. The hope, the joy, the unity, and most of all, the chance to see all of you soar. Thank you. And now an even greater fan of team USA, my husband, our president, Joe Biden.

Joe Biden: (06:06)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Jilly. You know, as the guy heads up the Veterans Affairs for America, the big guy standing, please sit down guys, knows, I’m glad the Lord didn’t come down and give me a choice between being president and Olympian. I had all those Walter Mitty dreams and they weren’t about being president and being about a great athlete. Thought I was in high school and college, but I’d tell you what you all are incredible. Absolutely incredible. Welcome to the White House. Welcome to the White House. This is your house. This is the people’s house. The Bidens are a big sports fan. We love watching the Olympics. And Jill came home from Tokyo, all she could do is talk about you all, constantly. You think I’m kidding. I’m not.

Joe Biden: (07:12)
And we know that no matter the results, we wanted it to honor you here at the White House. And I’m sorry, you had to wait that year. Between the time it was set and time to go. I mean, you’ve been through so darn much. Been through so much. 600 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. And more than 260 medals across a dozen sports weighing a million pounds.

Joe Biden: (08:05)
Thanks for letting me hold those medals, man. Made me feel important for a second. 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 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 talent and 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. 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.

Joe Biden: (09:05)
As you watch it, as we watch you, I’m serious. Whether you’re a would be athlete like me, or you’re never played a sport, I’m serious. 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 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. The people you’ll never meet. Witness how hard you competed, trained and pushed yourself. And you help 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 given 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.

Joe Biden: (10:28)
The power of your example gives so many people strength to never give up as well. It matters, 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 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. I had a simultaneous interpreter, and he had one. And he looked at me and 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. It’s all about possibility

Joe Biden: (11:33)
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 people talk to you and tell you about what they thought when they were watching 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 to divisions, when we see you compete, we feel a common pride in those three letters. USA. I mean that. There’s a common pride that crosses all political spectrums. Through the lows and the highs and the tears and the joy, we were with you every moment. All of you. Whether it was your first time competing with a culmination of your career.

Joe Biden: (12:31)
I want to thank you for showing what we can do together as one American, and one Team USA. And, now it’s my honor to introduce one of our amazing athletes, Elana Meyers Taylor. 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. Colleague softball here in DC at GW, George Washington University, as a pitcher and a shortstop. She came close to making Olympic Softball Team, but never gave up on her Olympic dream. During 2002 winter games in Salt Lake, she watched American bobsledder Vonetta Flowers become the first Black athlete to win a gold medal at a Winter Games.

Joe Biden: (13:24)
And this is what I mean by inspiration. With her mom and her dad support, she switched sports, trained hard. You know, she’s devoted. She even married a bobsledder. Trained harder after becoming a mom. And after a silver and bronze in Beijing, she became the most decorated woman ever to compete in Olympic bobsled, and the most decorated black athlete in the Winter Olympic’s history. 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.

Elana Meyers Taylor: (14:32)
Mr. President, Madam vice president, Dr. Biden, and Mr. Emhoff, what an honor it is to be here today. This is a moment that is truly beyond the imagination of many of our dreams. One that many of us thought may never be possible. As a team, Olympians, Paralympians, summer athletes, winter athletes, we’ve been through a lot. A pandemic, a postponement, a war, but this team is resilient. We came together and we persevered and we hope we’ve made this country proud.

Joe Biden: (15:24)
You did.

Elana Meyers Taylor: (15:33)
We are Team USA. This is one amazing group behind me. And I hope many of you get to know them. And those who couldn’t join us today, we are one team bonded forever by the incredible honor of representing this great nation and wearing our flag. On behalf of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Team USA, I would like to invite a few of my teammates now to present some pretty awesome Team USA swag. So please let me introduce speed skater, Brittany Bowe, Curler John Shuster. Javelin thrower, Kara Winger. Paratriathlon, Melissa Stockwell, Para alpine skier, Danelle Umstead. Para alpine skier, Tyler Carter. Wheelchair rugby player, Chuck Aoki. And wheelchair basketball player, Matt Scott.

Joe Biden: (17:23)
Here we go. Don’t jump. She’s our photographer. Look at her up there. She was in a three meter board. Got it?

Elana Meyers Taylor: (17:57)
Thank you. And let’s take a team photo.

Speaker 1: (18:37)
Athletes, please remain in place for a group photo with the president. Thank you.

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