Jill Biden, the first lady, clapped and waved on Friday as a contingent of masked American athletes joined the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Dr. Biden traveled to Japan as the leader of a small presidential delegation, and her appearance came amid concerns of skyrocketing coronavirus cases in Tokyo. Biden administration officials said the first lady had wanted to travel to the Olympics to represent the United States and show support for its athletes, most of whom will compete in the Games without family members cheering them from the stands.
The first lady published an open letter to the athletes on NBC News’s website on Friday, telling the U.S. team, “You bring us together in a way that little else can.”
Before appearing at the opening ceremony, Dr. Biden participated in a whirlwind of diplomatic events, including a reception with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan and his wife, Mariko, at the Imperial Palace.
The first lady will stop in Hawaii for a vaccination event on her way back from Japan this weekend. This is the first solo trip abroad for Dr. Biden, whose traveling schedule currently outpaces her husband’s.