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First lady Jill Biden to head to Tokyo Olympics, lead U.S. delegation

Jill Biden will lead the U.S. delegation to Tokyo at the Olympic Games, which begin July 23.

For the second time, Jill Biden will head to the Olympic Games to lead the U.S. delegation.

But for the Tokyo Games, she will do so without her husband, President Joe Biden. The couple led the delegation for the Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010, when Joe Biden was vice president.

The Tokyo Games, which open July 23 after a yearlong postponement, will have no fans in the stands in the wake of a state of emergency declared because of the Covid-19 pandemic. (NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and MSNBC, owns the U.S. media rights to the games.)

Jill Biden waves as she arrives in Savannah, Ga., on Thursday.Jim Watson / Pool/AFP via Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month that the president would not attend the Olympics but that he would instead send a U.S. delegation, as has traditionally been done.

President George W. Bush became the first U.S. president to attend an Olympics abroad, when he went to China for the Beijing Games in 2008. It has not happened since.

President Barack Obama did not attend the games in Vancouver in 2010, in London in 2012, in Sochi, Russia, in 2014 or in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Delegations were sent; first lady Michelle Obama led the delegation at the London Games. In 2010, the Bidens led the U.S. delegation to Canada.

President Donald Trump sent a delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, to the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, led the U.S. delegation for the closing ceremony.