When President Donald Trump extends a White House invite to Team USA, who will accept? Probably not Lindsey Vonn or Adam Rippon, just two of many athletes proud to represent the American people, but not necessarily those governing over them.
Why are so many Olympians threatening to “boycott” the White House — and when did the Olympic Games become so political, anyway?
Team USA White House visits are common, but not mandatory
It’s customary for presidents to ceremonially congratulate Olympic medalists and participants. President Obama praised the team’s dedication and representation of America’s diversity following the Summer 2016 games.
Over 600 Team USA athletes accepted that invitation by choice. It’s possible far fewer athletes will choose to accept the same invitation from President Trump.
Next: This athlete has earned herself an invite — but will she take it?
Lindsey Vonn’s medal might get her an invitation …
Vonn finished her Olympic Alpine skiing career with one bronze medal. Though it’s no gold, she still felt lucky to even be able to compete again after numerous injuries throughout her time. And even a bronze is enough to be able to join Team USA at the White House.
Next: When asked about the possibility, Vonn’s response was short and to the point.
… but she will ‘absolutely not’ go to the White House
When athletes and other celebrities receive an invitation to meet with the president, they’re not obligated to accept. Though many Olympians might accept Donald Trump’s offer — if it’s given — at least one athlete definitely won’t.
When asked if she would accept a White House invite following her final run as an Olympian, Vonn told CNN, “Absolutely not.”
Next: The real reason why Vonn says “no” might surprise you.
Why won’t Vonn say yes to Trump?
Vonn says she wouldn’t accept an invite from the president, and her reasoning seems fairly straightforward. She said, “I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
She isn’t the only Olympian frustrated with the way the U.S. government represents their country — and certainly isn’t the only one who’s spoken out about it.
Next: Why are sports and politics so intertwined?
Why are the Olympics so political?
Does it seem like the Olympics become more “politicized” every round? If you think about it, they’ve always been that way. You can’t bring the world’s competing countries together and expect to keep politics out of the game.
Many athletes treat the games as a means of representing the people they are proud of. They stand for Americans, but not always the country’s prominent governing powers.
Next: This figure skater had something important to say to Mike Pence.
Adam Rippon says ‘no thanks’ to Mike Pence
Male figure skater Adam Rippon decided not to use the provided meet and greet to shake hands with America’s vice president, believing Pence wasn’t the right choice to represent the U.S. at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “For Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory.
Next: One more major athlete had something to say to America’s VP.
Gus Kenworthy: ‘Eat your heart out, Pence’
For freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, the “Olympic Gaymes” means competing — but also speaking out against anti-LGBT officials.
In an Instagram post following the Opening Ceremony, Kenworthy wrote, “I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I’m so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community … Eat your heart out, Pence.”
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