2020 Tokyo Olympics: Team USA Invited To White House at Games’ Conclusion

by Shelby Scott

The United States White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told media Wednesday that the 2020 Olympic team USA are invited to the White House “whenever they want to come.” According to the Daily Mail, while there is no date set for the invitation as of yet, the White House will be open to team USA following the conclusion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Psaki made the announcement “after COVID-19 protocols forced the White House to send slimmed down presidential delegations to the opening and closing ceremonies,” of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. First Lady Jill Biden led the delegation for the opening ceremony, with only one other representative in tow. Biden was accompanied by Raymond Greene. Greene is the Chargé d’Affaires at interim at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo according to the Daily Mail.

Additionally, Biden was only accompanied by agents during the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Even staff could not attend the event. Pandemic restrictions entirely reshaped the goings-on and procedures of this year’s Olympic games.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony should expect a slightly larger U.S. delegation. U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield plans to attend the closing ceremony for the U.S. Additionally, Greene will make a second appearance, and the two will also be accompanied by Marcia Bernicat. Bernicat is a senior official for the State Department.

Will 2020 Tokyo Olympics Closing Ceremony Receive as Little Viewership as the Opening Ceremony Did?

Team USA saw many successes already in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. However, it is uncertain what viewership for the closing ceremony is going to look like in the U.S. According to The Hollywood Reporter, only 16.7 million people watched the opening ceremony for this year’s Olympic Games. Overall, viewership marked a 33-year low.

Comparatively, the 2012 London Games saw 40 million, the 2018 Winter Olympics saw 28.3 million, and the 2016 Summer Games saw 26.5 million. A report from FOX News stated more people watched Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in March than they did this year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.

There are a handful of reasons why viewership was so low this year. One of the major reasons is due to a lack of live viewership at the events. Live spectators often add a sense of drama, excitement, and urgency to certain events. That has been absent at this year’s Olympic Games since COVID-19 protocols barred Japanese citizens from attending the international event. In fact, many reviews for the opening ceremony said it was “downbeat” and somber.

Interestingly enough, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were not the only sporting event this year that saw record lows in viewership. Every major sporting event and awards ceremony received record lows. The decline follows a year and a half or more of an exhaustive discussion and debate surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.