Jill Biden joins French President Emannuel Macron to watch Olympic basketball


First Lady Jill Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron watched their countrywomen tangle on the 3×3 basketball court at the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo on Saturday, with the Americans pulling out an upset victory.

Macron and Biden are among the few dignitaries attending the delayed Games, with Japan and much of the world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The French president sat in the third row courtside, wearing a tie but no jacket on a steamy evening.   

First Lady Jill Biden (far right) and French President Emmanuel Macron (left) watched their countrywomen tangle on the 3x3 basketball court at the sport's Olympic debut in Tokyo on Saturday, with the Americans pulling out an upset victory

First Lady Jill Biden (far right) and French President Emmanuel Macron (left) watched their countrywomen tangle on the 3×3 basketball court at the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo on Saturday, with the Americans pulling out an upset victory

The two dignitaries greeted each other at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in the Japanese capital on Saturday

The two dignitaries greeted each other at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in the Japanese capital on Saturday

Biden and Macron wore masks and sat at a distance as the COVID-19 pandemic looms large over the Summer Games in Tokyo

Biden and Macron wore masks and sat at a distance as the COVID-19 pandemic looms large over the Summer Games in Tokyo

The first lady wore a mask that included an embroidered American flag and her name. Macron is seen left

The first lady wore a mask that included an embroidered American flag and her name. Macron is seen left

Macron and Biden are seen above speaking to members of the Olympic delegation at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on Saturday

Macron and Biden are seen above speaking to members of the Olympic delegation at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo on Saturday

Biden jumped to her feet and clapped when the clock ran out with the U.S. team winning 17-10 against No. 1 ranked France, marking the first upset in the sport's Olympic debut

Biden jumped to her feet and clapped when the clock ran out with the U.S. team winning 17-10 against No. 1 ranked France, marking the first upset in the sport’s Olympic debut

The French president and the American first lady watch the basketball game intently at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo

The French president and the American first lady watch the basketball game intently at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo

First Lady Jill Biden cheers on Team USA prior to the Women's Pool Round match on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park

First Lady Jill Biden cheers on Team USA prior to the Women’s Pool Round match on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Aomi Urban Sports Park

Afterward, Biden attended the Team USA - New Zealand Group G women's soccer match at Saitama Stadium on Saturday

Afterward, Biden attended the Team USA – New Zealand Group G women’s soccer match at Saitama Stadium on Saturday

The French leader gazes out over the basketball court during his country's match against the United States on Saturday

The French leader gazes out over the basketball court during his country’s match against the United States on Saturday

USA's Jacquelyn Young (left) fights for the ball with France's Marie-Eve Paget (right) during the women's first round 3x3 basketball match between US and France

USA’s Jacquelyn Young (left) fights for the ball with France’s Marie-Eve Paget (right) during the women’s first round 3×3 basketball match between US and France

Both Macron and Biden wore face masks and, after a brief greeting, the first lady sat one row behind him in accordance with social distancing norms.

Biden jumped to her feet and clapped when the clock ran out with the U.S. team winning 17-10 against No. 1 ranked France, marking the first upset in the sport’s Olympic debut.

Afterward, Biden attended the Team USA – New Zealand Group G women’s soccer match at Saitama Stadium on Saturday. 

The Americans rebounded from their opening loss with a 6-1 rout of New Zealand in front of the first lady on Saturday in the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Americans rebounded from their opening loss with a 6-1 rout of New Zealand in front of the first lady on Saturday in the women's soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics

The Americans rebounded from their opening loss with a 6-1 rout of New Zealand in front of the first lady on Saturday in the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics

With the United States leading 2-0 at the break, Biden arrived in time to watch the team put the game away in the second half at Saitama Stadium

With the United States leading 2-0 at the break, Biden arrived in time to watch the team put the game away in the second half at Saitama Stadium

Team USA forward Megan Rapinoe (center) jostles with New Zealand defender CJ Bott (left) during their match on Saturday

Team USA forward Megan Rapinoe (center) jostles with New Zealand defender CJ Bott (left) during their match on Saturday

With the United States leading 2-0 at the break, Biden arrived in time to watch the team put the game away in the second half at Saitama Stadium.

The United States was stunned by Sweden in the first match, losing 3-0. It was the team’s first loss since January 2019, and snapped a 44-game unbeaten streak.

The Americans had not been held scoreless since 2017.

But the Americans vowed to regain control of the tournament. 

Earlier on Saturday, the first lady held an Olympics watch party for embassy staff at the Tokyo ambassador’s residence as a thank you, of sorts, for helping set up her trip, before heading back to the Games to watch swimming, women’s basketball and soccer. 

‘I know how much goes into visits like these, especially with COVID,’ she told about 50 foreign service workers gathered to watch the Team USA versus Mexico women’s softball game on a big-screen TV. ‘I mean, I feel so terrible that we can’t offer you food – and a glass of wine – but they said, no, no one will be taking off their masks.’ 

Earlier on Saturday, First Lady Jill Biden hosted an Olympics watch party Saturday at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Tokyo as a thank you to embassy staff for helping set up her trip to attend the Games

Earlier on Saturday, First Lady Jill Biden hosted an Olympics watch party Saturday at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Tokyo as a thank you to embassy staff for helping set up her trip to attend the Games

After the watch party, the patriotic first lady returned to Olympics' venues, including to watch USA swimming

After the watch party, the patriotic first lady returned to Olympics’ venues, including to watch USA swimming 

Biden settles in to watch Team USA softball alongside the embassy's new Charge d’Affaires ad interim Raymond Greene. The event followed strict COVID protocols because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo

Biden settles in to watch Team USA softball alongside the embassy’s new Charge d’Affaires ad interim Raymond Greene. The event followed strict COVID protocols because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo 

The first lady and attendees at Saturday's Olympics watch party stand as the national anthem is played at the start of the Team USA vs. Mexico softaball game

The first lady and attendees at Saturday’s Olympics watch party stand as the national anthem is played at the start of the Team USA vs. Mexico softaball game

Earlier Saturday first lady Jill Biden wore a more formal outfit at the Chief of Mission Residence in Tokyo for a dedication of a room in honor of the late Irene Hirano Inouye and Sen. Daniel Inouye

Earlier Saturday first lady Jill Biden wore a more formal outfit at the Chief of Mission Residence in Tokyo for a dedication of a room in honor of the late Irene Hirano Inouye and Sen. Daniel Inouye

The event followed strict COVID protocols, with attendees wearing masks – some decorated with American flags – and seats of two spread about six feet apart.

The coronavirus had spread throughout Tokyo in advance of the Olympic Games, with some residents protesting the decision not to postpone them. 

Biden and the Tokyo embassy’s new Charge d’Affaires ad interim Raymond Greene were the only two Americans who attended Friday night’s opening ceremony as part of President Joe Biden’s delegation. 

Friday night in Washington, the president joked that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ‘made it real clear’ that he wanted the first lady – and not the US president – in Tokyo for the opener.  

‘Jill wanted to be here tonight, but if you turn on the Olympics and watch Team USA you’ll see Jill Biden standing there,’ Biden said at a campaign rally for Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe.   

‘The Japanese prime minister, who I invited as the first person to come to the White House as a head of state, he made it real clear, he didn’t want me, he wanted her to go.’  

The Biden administration lit up the White House Friday night as well, as the opening ceremony played on primetime TV in the United States. 

The first lady, who had appeared at the ambassador’s residence earlier Saturday wearing a white dress and powder blue blazer – to dedicate a room in the home to the late Irene Hirano Inouye and Sen. Daniel Inouye – did a costume change for the watch party. 

First lady Jill Biden is captured in the audience watching swimming events Saturday afternoon in Tokyo

First lady Jill Biden is captured in the audience watching swimming events Saturday afternoon in Tokyo 

The U.S. embassy in Tokyo's new Charge d’Affaires ad interim Raymond Greene (left) sits with first lady Jill Biden to watch swimming Saturday at the Olympic Games

The U.S. embassy in Tokyo’s new Charge d’Affaires ad interim Raymond Greene (left) sits with first lady Jill Biden to watch swimming Saturday at the Olympic Games 

She appeared in front of the crowd wearing the official Team USA Ralph Lauren blazer, the American flag top and the jeans that say ‘USA’ down one leg. 

She also wore white sneakers with blue and red stripes to complete the patriotic get-up. 

‘I’m really excited for this game aren’t you? As you can see I’m all decked out,’ she said.

‘As I walk down the hallway, I feel like a new kid – a kid on the first day of school,’ she continued. ‘You know how you have all your new clothes, but you didn’t wash them, so these jeans are so stiff.’ 

‘So, note to self,’ she added to laughs from the crowd.

She then got serious – and spoke about how what they do as American diplomats matters. 

‘This job can be challenging in the best of times,’ she said. ‘In the past few years we can see how fragile diplomacy can be.’

She thanked them for keeping the US-Japan alliance strong. 

‘And you kept your commitments even as the world struggles through a global pandemic. And it hasn’t been easy,’ she said. ‘And that’s true for the family members, who have picked up their lives – so many of you have picked up your lives and moved across the world alongside of you.’ 

‘And guess what – I understand that,’ she added, an acknowledgment of her own move to the White House.

She boasted that, ‘America is leading the world once again because you all, you all are forging the way.’ 

First lady Jill Biden stands up and waves as Team USA is announced Friday night at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden stands up and waves as Team USA is announced Friday night at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games 

First lady Jill Biden (left) speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron (right) at the opening ceremony Friday night for the Tokyo summer Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden (left) speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron (right) at the opening ceremony Friday night for the Tokyo summer Olympic Games

First Lady Jill Biden stood up and cheered as Team USA was announced arriving at Olympic Stadium during Friday night's opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic Games

First Lady Jill Biden stood up and cheered as Team USA was announced arriving at Olympic Stadium during Friday night’s opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic Games

First Lady Jill Biden is captured arriving at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan Friday night for the opening ceremony

First Lady Jill Biden is captured arriving at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan Friday night for the opening ceremony 

First Lady Jill Biden (left) speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron (right) at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo summer Olympic Games. Earlier Friday, Biden and Macron attended a reception at the Imperial Palace with the Emperor of Japan

First Lady Jill Biden (left) speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron (right) at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo summer Olympic Games. Earlier Friday, Biden and Macron attended a reception at the Imperial Palace with the Emperor of Japan 

First Lady Jill Biden gets off an elevator as she arrives for the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

First Lady Jill Biden gets off an elevator as she arrives for the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

‘We’re going to show the world what the United States can achieve when we are guided by heart and hope and diplomacy,’ she said. 

‘Or as my husband has said, we lead by the power of our example, not the example of our power.’ 

Biden then took a seat in the crowd to watch a portion of the game. 

Later Saturday she headed back to the Olympics to watch Team USA versus France’s women’s 3×3 basketball game. 

She then watched USA swimming compete and attended the team Team USA women’s soccer match against New Zealand before flying to Honolulu Hawaii. 

On Friday night Biden arrived at Olympics Stadium dressed in a white and black polka-dotted bespoke Brandon Maxwell dress paired with a strings of pearls. 

She also sported an American flag mask, as COVID-19 protocols left the massive stadium empty except for dignitaries and press. 

She also wore Paul Andrew pumps, Mizuki earrings and held a Larroude clutch as she arrived.  

The first lady was seated next to Macron, who she attended a reception with earlier hosted by Japanese Emperor Naruhito. 

Fireworks explode over the main Olympic stadium in Tokyo as the opening ceremony gets underway, a year after the event was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Fireworks explode over the main Olympic stadium in Tokyo as the opening ceremony gets underway, a year after the event was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

First Lady Jill Biden applauds during Friday night's opening ceremony of the Tokyo summer Olympics at Olympic Stadium

First Lady Jill Biden applauds during Friday night’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo summer Olympics at Olympic Stadium

First Lady Jill Biden is seen observing a moment of silence for victims of the coronavirus pandemic during Friday night's opening ceremony in Tokyo

First Lady Jill Biden is seen observing a moment of silence for victims of the coronavirus pandemic during Friday night’s opening ceremony in Tokyo 

First lady Jill Biden (center top) watches the Olympics' opening ceremony alongside French President Emmanuel Macron (bottom)

First lady Jill Biden (center top) watches the Olympics’ opening ceremony alongside French President Emmanuel Macron (bottom)

A view outside the Olympic Stadium Friday night in Tokyo, Japan. Inside only hundreds and not tens of thousands were gathered due to rising COVID-19 numbers globally

A view outside the Olympic Stadium Friday night in Tokyo, Japan. Inside only hundreds and not tens of thousands were gathered due to rising COVID-19 numbers globally 

Team USA enters Olympic Stadium Friday night during the opening ceremony in Tokyo. Flagbearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvares spoke virtually earlier Friday with first lady Jill Biden

Team USA enters Olympic Stadium Friday night during the opening ceremony in Tokyo. Flagbearers Sue Bird and Eddy Alvares spoke virtually earlier Friday with first lady Jill Biden 

She was observed bowing her head during a moment of silence near the top of the program for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Earlier, thanks to COVID-19, the first lady had to meet Team USA athletes virtually. 

‘I want to thank each person who helped you be here today. Now those years of work, the drive and faith that have kept you going, have led you here. Congratulations,’ Biden said, sporting a white, blue and red USA jacket over a white Michael Kors dress and looking into a camera. 

‘Becoming an Olympian is a rare accomplishment in a normal time. But you did it during a global pandemic.’

Behind her shoulder was a large TV showing the faces of Team USA’s athletes.   

‘For most of you, the journey to Tokyo began long, long ago. It likely started at a young age. The first time you picked up a ball or jumped in the water. The first ride that made you feel really free. Or when the backflip you thought was impossible suddenly wasn’t,’ Biden said. 

‘You’ve given up so much to be here. You’ve sacrificed time with friends and pushed yourself harder than you thought you could,’ she continued.

‘Your journey was supported by dedicated parents and siblings, grandparents and cousins, friends, classmates and, of course, the coaches that guided you along the way to Tokyo,’ Biden added. 

The first athlete she spoke to was Eddy Alvarez, a baseball player and, in the winter Olympics, a short track speed skater. 

He’s a flagbearer this year.

‘Thank you so much, I love seeing you – you must be so excited!’ she said giggling.

She then spoke to Sue Bird, a basketball player and flagbearer.

‘You are one amazing woman,’ Biden said.

She then spoke to Allison Schmitt, a four-time Olympic swimmer and mental health advocate. ‘I think it’s an even bigger honor that you’re not just FLOTUS, but you’re a Dr. Jill Biden,’ Schmitt said. 

First Lady Jill Biden did a Zoom call with Team USA athletes Friday at the U.S. ambassador's residence in advance of the Tokyo summer Olympics' opening ceremony

First Lady Jill Biden did a Zoom call with Team USA athletes Friday at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in advance of the Tokyo summer Olympics’ opening ceremony 

‘I’m so looking forward to watching you compete and as a teacher I think what you’re doing is so important in that area of mental health because I know that a lot of students as they return back to school this fall are going to need a little help,’ Biden said.    

Schmitt said she’s currently working on her master’s.

‘Go for the doctorate,’ Biden encouraged. 

Biden also told the athletes they were ‘more than our cities or states or backgrounds.’

‘We are more than our jobs or are political parties,’ she said. 

‘We are Team USA,’ she said. ‘We’ll be watching!’ she encouraged the athletes.

Afterward she told reporters, ‘it was emotional’ after seeing the Olympians. ‘It meant a lot to me. And to Joe. It should be exciting to watch the events,’ she said. 

‘Thank you for your help,’ she told her staff and embassy staff who put the Zoom call together.   

‘Am I allowed to shake hands?’ she asked the staff, giving out elbow bumps instead. ‘Just pretend these are hugs,’ she said. 

Biden later released an op-ed through NBC News that delivered a similar message.          

Jill Biden stops off in Alaska to tout getting vaccines to tribal communities

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics. 

Biden took a tour of the Alaska Native Medical Center, where she marveled at some of the ways Alaska medical providers distributed COVID-19 vaccines, especially to tribal communities.     

Dr. Cate Buley, the Medical Director of Primary Care Clinics at Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium told the first lady, ‘we delivered some vaccines in some whale-watching boats,’ adding that it was ‘nothing I ever expected.’ 

‘Or you want to do again,’ Biden said laughing.   

Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, greeted the first lady by pointing out a garbage can outside where they had recently spotted a bear. 

‘Maybe it will come back for my visit,’ Biden said.   

Biden was given a tele-health demonstration at the site. 

A map showed some of the distances communities are spread – with some as far as the distance from California to Georgia.

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics

The first lady was greeted on the tarmac and shown a garbage can where they recently spotted a bear. 'Maybe it will come back for my visit,' Biden said

The first lady was greeted on the tarmac and shown a garbage can where they recently spotted a bear. ‘Maybe it will come back for my visit,’ Biden said

Dr. Joseph Park, a cardiologist at the center, walked Biden through how people can see their EKG via computer. Dr. Cate Buley, beaming in from Juneau, said, ‘the silver lining to the pandemic has been the explosion of this tele-medicine service.’ She talked about how tele-medicine has led to cancer discoveries and healthy baby births.

Biden asked Buley how much mental health services she provides. 

Buley responds that ‘it’s increased a drastic amount.’

Biden asked Buley, ‘are most of your patients receptive to getting the vaccine?’

‘Yes we have extremely high vaccination rates,’ Buley answered.

Afterward the first lady gave brief remarks.  

Davidson used a native Alaskan tribal language to greet the first lady and then switched to language. She also noted that ‘some of our communities we have 100 per cent vaccination.’ 

Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, also gave welcome remarks.

Dr. Biden took off her mask to speak. 

First lady Jill Biden is shown dolls wearing Alaskan native costume as she enters the Alaska Native Health Center Wednesday, receiving a trou from (from left) Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, and Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

First lady Jill Biden is shown dolls wearing Alaskan native costume as she enters the Alaska Native Health Center Wednesday, receiving a trou from (from left) Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, and Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

One of Dr. Jill Biden's greeters held a polar bear statue in his hand as he stood on the tarmac Wednesday to wave Executive One Foxtrot goodbye as the first lady departed for Tokyo, Japan

One of Dr. Jill Biden’s greeters held a polar bear statue in his hand as he stood on the tarmac Wednesday to wave Executive One Foxtrot goodbye as the first lady departed for Tokyo, Japan 

Biden noted how Zink works out of a yurt.

Biden took the podium and tried several times to repeat the name of the Alaskan tribe that originally held the land – Dena’ina.

‘See I’m getting it,’ Biden said after a few attempts.

‘So as you know I’m heading for the Tokyo Olympics,’ she told the small group of reporters in the room. ‘I asked if I could just stay a little bit longer,’ she said of the stopover in Alaska.

‘This state really is special to Joe and to me,’ she added.

She talked about traveling the state with the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who served with President Biden in the U.S. Senate.

‘We traveled all over this state by plane – well, mostly by plane,’ Biden remarked.

She also talked about how she and Catherine Stevens were pregnant at the same time, when Biden was pregnant with daughter Ashley. ‘And it was really a big deal in the Senate because here there hadn’t been in a baby in the Senate for a long time,’ Biden said. ‘So most of them were, I guess, old men,’ she said to laughter.

She heralded the center ‘which has helped lead this state in vaccinating not only natives but non-natives as well.’

Biden talked about how she met a woman at her exercise class in Washington. ‘Jill she said I want to thank you for what you’re doing.’ ‘She said I lost four members of my family to the virus and she started to cry. And she said, you know what I did. I said what did you do Jackie And she said I went and I got 140 people to get the vaccine.’

‘I just felt so terrible for her,’ Biden continued. ‘This this is our path forward, reaching out to those who are still undecided, persuading them to protect themselves and others. And we need to make this care, person by person,’ she said, calling this the ‘last push.’

‘I’m asking all of you who are listening right now to choose to get vaccinated,’ Biden said. ‘COVID is more contagious than ever and it continues to spread. Even one hospitalization, only one life lost, is one too many.’ 



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