Members of Team USA were recognized outside of the White House on May 4. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Closing Ceremony for the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 was two months ago, putting an official end to the Games.
The accomplishments achieved at those Games are still being celebrated though, as Team USA Week took place from May 2-4 in Washington D.C. A few members of the U.S. Paralympic snowboarding team gathered at the capital among 600 other Olympians and Paralympians to be honored by President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
President Biden handed out plenty of compliments to the athletes in attendance, commemorating them for the way they represented their country while performing on the world’s biggest stage.
“We’re in awe not just to your incredible athleticism but your endurance and your state of mind, but most of all your character — you have such incredible character,” Biden said. “You represent the very soul of America.”
Para snowboarding stars like three-time gold medalist Brenna Huckaby and three-time medalist Mike Schultz more were in attendance for the celebratory week, as were some of their Paralympic teammates.
Here are some of the biggest highlights from the athletes themselves.
While on the lawn of the White House, Zach Miller, who made his Paralympic debut in Beijing, was able to get a picture with Vice President Harris and a few other athletes.
Two-time Paralympic medalist Noah Elliot also posted that picture to Instagram. In the same post, he was able to get a picture with Miller, two-time Paralympian Brittani Coury and back-to-back Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim.
As if that wasn’t enough, Elliot also showed how comfortable he was in the White House. He read a book in the library, lounged on fancy furniture, posed with a portrait of George Washington and slid down a staircase railing. He truly embraced being in the People’s House.
Katlyn Maddry, who also made her Paralympic debut in Beijing, posted plenty of photos from in and outside the White House. She was there to make connections though, as she became friendly with some Secret Service members while also getting in a selfie taken by the president himself.
The official U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding Instagram account had a post of the hundreds of athletes outside of the White House, posing with the Bidens. There were so many athletes there that it took two photos to get them all in the post.
The snowboarders seemed to have the most fun at the gala held as an official celebration of all of Team USA’s accomplishments over the past nine months. A few snowboarders got dressed to the nines for the extravagant event.
Huckaby donned an all-pink outfit, from her dress to her shoes, and got photos alongside other athletes in attendance. That included fellow snowboarders Elliott and Miller.
“No better team than Team USA,” she wrote.
Schultz wore a sharp, dark gray suit to the occasion but added a nice bit of jewelry to his outfit — the silver medal he won in the snowboardcross in Beijing. He also got a photo with Huckaby and with Elliott and Miller at their table.
“What a party in DC with !!! This was an incredible evening hanging out with all of our Team USA Summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes,” the two-time Paralympian wrote. “It's very rare that we all get together at the same time and have fun and chat with one another. Truly an awesome opportunity to walk the red carpet and share the room with this group of world class athletes!”
Elliott also shared a video that featured a lot of the highlights of the night. From champagne to a trapeze artist and dancing to Walk The Moon, it looked as if he and his fellow athletes had a great time.
This officially closes out the Tokyo and Beijing Olympic and Paralympic cycles. Time will tell how many of these athletes will be back to celebrate at the White House again after Paris 2024 and Milano Cortina 2026.