The Latest: Jill Biden stops in Alaska en route to Olympics

Posted

The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:

Jill Biden has embarked on her first solo international trip as first lady, leading a U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

On her way she stopped in Alaska, where she praised efforts to vaccinate residents in the rugged, remote state but noted the work is not done.

She has a robust agenda for roughly 48 hours on the ground in Japan’s capital.

She is set to arrive in Tokyo Thursday afternoon and have dinner with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife, Mariko Suga.

She will hold a virtual get-together with members of Team USA Friday before meeting Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace. She attends the opening ceremony for the Games in the evening.

She also will host a U.S.-vs.-Mexico softball watch party at the U.S. Embassy for staff and their families, and cheer U.S. athletes competing in several events before leaving Tokyo.

___

Australia’s highest-ranking Olympic official and the current premier of the state of Queensland, where the 2032 Summer Games will be held, have put an early test to the old adage that sports and politics don’t mix.

Hours after Brisbane was given the hosting rights for the Games 11 years down the track following an International Olympic Committee vote in Tokyo on Wednesday, Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates had a public disagreement with Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The issue at the late night news conference in Tokyo? Whether Palaszczuk and other members of the city’s delegation should attend the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday.

Palaszczuk indicated she’d be staying in her hotel room.

That didn’t sit well with Coates, a powerful vice-president for the IOC and one of the driving forces behind Brisbane having received the hosting rights so soon without any real competition.

Coates told Palaszczuk that she and the others could not stay home and sit in their rooms.