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  • Olympians, Paralympians Go to Washington


    (ATR) United States Olympians and Paralympians from the PyeongChang Games will be honored in Washington, D.C. as part of a week of celebrations.

    The athletes began arriving on April 24 to take place in a career seminar hosted by the United States Olympic Committee. Afterwards, some of them attended the state dinner between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. Today, more than 200 athletes will be honored as part of the Team USA Awards, the USOC confirmed.

    The same number will then visit the White House tomorrow to be honored by Trump. The White House visit is a traditional post-Olympics event for Team USA, and previous President Barack Obama even mentioned the athletes as one of his inspirations before leaving office.

    A reception at the White House will not be the only engagement Olympians have with lawmakers. A group of five Olympians met with lawmakers in Congress yesterday to discuss the effects of climate change on Winter sports.

    "I want the Winter Olympics to go on forever," Arielle Gold, a gold medalist in snowboarding, told CBS News about the reason to press Senators. “I want future generations to be able to experience it in the same way that I've been able to."

    Gold was joined by cross country skier Jessie Diggins, freestyle skier David Wise, biathlete Maddie Phaneuf and alpine skier Stacey Cook at Congress.

    Kristi Yamaguchi won gold medal in figure skating in 1992 (@kristiyamaguchi)
    At the award ceremony tonight figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi will be recognized with the Jesse Owens Spirit Award and Tom Kelly, vice president of communications at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, as the recipient of the Building Dreams Award. A total of 10 awards will be presented throughout the night, in a televised event hosted by Mike Tirico.

    A high-profile aspect about this year’s Washington trip is the number of Olympians who will not be present. Nearly all of the US Olympic Team will make the trip, but a number of high profile athletes are skipping for various reasons.

    Some of those not present will be competing on the network television show “Dancing with the Stars”. Included in the cast this season is figure skater Adam Rippon, who before the Olympics spoke out against the policies of Vice President Mike Pence. Pence led the U.S. delegation to the Opening Ceremony and met with South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

    The other high profile athletes skipping the events will do so for political reasons over the Trump administration. Skier Lindsey Vonn told CNN last year that she does not believe the administration represents “our country well”. Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy said they would skip the event because of the administration’s views on LGBT individuals.

    “The things that Trump has done during his campaign and since he’s been in office that so intensely go against the things that I believe in, I have no desire to go and shake his hand,” Kenworthy said to the Washington Post.

    Homepage photo: Flickr/Diego Cambiaso

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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