Danelle Umstead and Tyler Carter present Vice President Kamala Harris with Team USA gear at the White House. (Photo: Getty Images)
The official end to the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 came at the Closing Ceremony on March 13 at the Beijing National Stadium.
Another significant event took place recently to celebrate the accomplishments of Olympians and Paralympians alike. May 2-4 marked Team USA Week, where more than 600 athletes gathered in Washington, D.C. to be honored by President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Those in attendance included several members of the U.S. Para alpine skiing team who competed in Beijing. Skiers like Tyler Carter, Allie Johnson and Andrew Kurka were among those in attendance to visit the White House and hear the Bidens speak.
Here are some of the highlights from the athletes themselves during the celebratory week in the nation’s capital.
Three-time Paralympian Tyler Carter got the week started off by boarding the plane to D.C. decked out in Team USA gear. This included a red, white and blue bucket hat that Carter made an essential part of the trip.
“My friends said I could only get this hat if I brought it along to D.C. for @teamusa Reunion Week,” Carter wrote on Instagram. “Jokes on them, I’m going to be styling all week.”
Carter ended up sporting the hat while sightseeing. The headgear made its way to the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History.
When Andrew Kurka arrived in D.C. for Team USA Week, he got to see himself as one of the featured American athletes on a banner.
“I’m on a banner. At a @teamusa event. THATS COOL! Right?” the two-time Paralympic medalist wrote.
Beijing did not go as planned for Kurka, who broke his right shoulder and right thumb during his first event at the Games. But he said seeing himself on that banner added extra motivation to come back stronger for the Milano Cortina Games in 2026.
“Broken or not this was a great pick me up,” he wrote. “I’m not beaten, I’m going to keep pushing and moving forward. @milanocortina2026 is on the way! And I’ll be ready as soon as I can!”
On May 4, all the athletes got to visit the White House.
Thomas Walsh used that opportunity to show off the silver medal he won in the giant slalom in Beijing. He wore it around the lawn in front of the White House and compared his with the silvers Andrew Capobianco and Jessica Parratto won while diving at the Tokyo Olympics.
While outside of the White House, before the president and first lady spoke to the hundreds of athletes, some of the alpine team got pictures together. Robert Enigl posted a photo alongside fellow first-time Paralympian David Williams and Kurka.
Allie Johnson posed with Walsh (and his silver medal), Carter and Jesse Keefe. Johnson was also one of dozens of athletes who got in a large selfie with Vice President Harris.
Once the skiers got inside the White House, the pictures kept coming. Carter was able to get a personal photo with the Bidens.
Matthew Brewer decided to get a picture with a former president instead, so he posed with Bill Clinton (kind of).
Enigl posted plenty more photos from inside the White House, including one with four-time Paralympian Jasmin Bambur. The president must’ve liked it himself, as it appeared on the POTUS’ Instagram page.
Later that night, the White House hosted a gala for the hundreds of athletes as a culmination of Team USA Week. The skiers in attendance put on their best formal wear and hit the dance floor.
Carter understood the assignment, as he showed up in a blue sport coat with a white shirt and a red bow tie.
Walsh went with a classic black tux, with a hint of silver to accent the outfit. He posted a few photos to Instagram, where he took pictures with fellow alpine skiers like Johnson, seven-time Paralympic medalist Laurie Stephens and two-time Paralympian Spencer Wood.
Johnson posted plenty of pictures of herself from the gala as well, as she sported a sparkling black dress. She also got a front-row view of Walk The Moon, who performed to close out the gala.
This officially ends the Beijing Paralympic cycle. Now most of these athletes who were celebrated at the White House will now focus on being back here in four years after Milano Cortina 2026.