First lady Jill Biden to attend opening ceremony of Summer Olympics in Tokyo next week

First lady jill biden
First lady Jill Biden speaks before the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at Disney World on Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux
  • First Lady Jill Biden will lead the US delegation at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
  • The opening ceremony of the games takes place on July 23.
  • Tokyo is currently under a state of emergency due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
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First lady Jill Biden will attend the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo on July 23, her office announced Tuesday.

The first lady will lead the US delegation at the games next week on her first solo trip abroad. President Joe Biden will not attend, but plans to cheer on the athletes from home, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month.

The travel plans come as Tokyo is experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections, entering a new state of emergency that started Monday and will last until August 22. The games end on August 8.

The move prompted Olympics organizers to ban all spectators from attending the games in person at stadiums and arenas. This comes after the Olympics had already been postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Psaki told reporters on June 28 that the White House planned to send a delegation to the games “as we have historically had” and that it “will continue to also convey the public health guidelines and guidance that we’ve been delivering out there about only essential travel.”

The first lady previously led the US delegation to the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Canada alongside then-Vice President Biden in 2010.