Jill Biden to Team USA: "What an honor it is to watch you soar"

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First lady Jill Biden sent Team USA an extra boost of encouragement on Friday, cheering them on in an open letter that highlighted the Olympics' power to bring people together.

What she's saying: "In these moments [of rooting for our country], we are more than our cities or states or backgrounds. We are more than our jobs or our political parties," Biden wrote in a letter published on NBC News. "We are united. We are all, first and foremost, Team USA."

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  • "Your journey to Tokyo likely started at a young age, the first time you picked up a ball or jumped in the water, the first ride that made you feel truly free or when the backflip you thought was impossible suddenly wasn’t," Biden added.

  • "Becoming an Olympian is a rare accomplishment in a normal time, but you did it during a global pandemic," she added.

  • "Your entire nation is cheering you on and we are grateful for what you’ve given us: the chance to come together in common awe and appreciation for your accomplishments and the shared joy of rooting for our country on the edge of our seats."

The big picture: Biden led the U.S. Olympic delegation in Tokyo on Friday as part of her first solo international trip.

  • The first lady also met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and participated in the Olympics opening ceremony.

  • 613 Olympians, plus a handful of alternates ready to step in at a moment's notice, are representing the United States in Tokyo over the next two weeks.

  • Boasting the likes of Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky, it's the largest contingent ever for a non-host nation.

Worth noting: The games have kicked off to a rocky start as athletes and staff increasingly report positive coronavirus tests.

Go deeper: 7 Olympics stories to know for today

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