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Linda Thomas-Greenfield to represent U.S. at Olympics closing ceremony

First to NBC: Thomas-Greenfield is also scheduled to be the first U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to meet with the Refugee Olympic Team.
Image: Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Thomas-Greenfield also plans to engage with the Refugee Olympic Team, which is participating for the second time in history. Mustafa Murat Kaynak / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony.

As part of the visit from August 6-8, she will watch U.S. athletes compete in finals and meet with members of Team USA, as well as Japanese and Olympic officials, a spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told NBC News on Friday.

Thomas-Greenfield, who has made refugee and humanitarian issues a priority at the U.N., also plans to engage with the Refugee Olympic Team, which is participating for the second time in history. She would be the first U.S. ambassador to the U.N. to meet with the refugee team.

This year’s Olympic Refugee Team of 29 athletes was drawn from 55 contenders who fled their home countries of Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Venezuela.

Earlier this year, NBC News traveled exclusively with Thomas-Greenfield to the Syrian-Turkish border to focus attention on refugees under threat of starvation as Russia threatened to close the last remaining humanitarian corridor. The U.N. Security Council later reached a compromise to keep the crossing open for one year.

The Olympic Games will end Aug. 8 and the closing ceremony will be broadcast at 7 a.m. ET, 8 p.m. local time on NBC.

NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and MSNBC, owns the U.S. media rights to the Games.

Other members of the U.S. delegation will Raymond Greene, who is overseeing affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in the absence of an ambassador, and Marcia Bernicat, senior official for economic growth, energy as well as the environment.

First Lady Jill Biden represented the U.S. at the opening ceremony last week, her second time attending the Olympic Games in an official capacity. She traveled to Canada in 2010 with then-Vice President Joe Biden.