Athletes representing Team USA in the Olympics are local celebrities back home. And members of Congress are some of their biggest fans.
As skiers, skaters and lugers head off to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 games, lawmakers from their districts are giving them a rousing send-off.
The opening ceremony is at 6 a.m. ET on Friday.
Here’s a look at some of the fanfare:
Summer Britcher, Glen Rock, Pa., luge: “Obviously, she’s like a hometown hero. It’s not every day that somebody from your local area gets to go and can qualify and compete in the Olympics. We’re just thrilled to have her,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.
“The luge is something that we don’t think about in Glen Rock, or our county, or south central Pennsylvania because we don’t do that around there,” he said of his district. “It’s just not obvious for us, so the fact that that’s her chosen sport and her expertise is kind of a marvel for us.”
Britcher is the “pride” of the community Perry represents, he said, and added that he will be watching her compete every minute he’s not working.
Maame Biney, Reston, Va., short track speed skating: “Good luck to Reston’s Maame Biney at the Winter Olympics. Your hard work, dedication, and all those early morning practices have helped you realize your dream. Skate fast and, most importantly, enjoy every moment. You make us all proud,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.
Thomas Hong, Rockville, Md., short track speed skating: “Thomas may be one of the youngest athletes on Team USA, but he embodies the Olympic spirit — the spirit of hard work, persistence and team work; that if you commit yourself to a goal and keep picking yourself up, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Thomas is and will be an inspiration for many of our young people, and I’m proud he’s representing Maryland!” said Democratic Rep. Anthony G. Brown, D-Md.
Madison Hubbell, Sylvania, Ohio, figure skating: “Madison is the only athlete from Ohio competing at the Olympics so the whole Buckeye State is going to be behind her,” said Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio. “I know she and her partner have been through some adversity along the way — including some untimely injuries — but I think their determination will make them tougher to beat. Best of luck, Madison!”
Nick Goepper, Lawrenceburg, Ind., freestyle skiing: “We are extremely proud that Lawrenceburg’s own Nick Goepper will be representing Indiana and the United States in the 2018 Olympics,” said Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind. “In 2014, he proved he could compete with the best athletes in the world and I’m confident he can have even more success in Pyeongchang. Hoosiers will be rooting him on throughout the winter games, and I wish him the very best luck!”
Ted Ligety: Park City, Utah, alpine skiing: “Best of luck to Ted Ligety. Ted, go show them that not only does Utah have the greatest snow on earth but also the greatest skiers as well. You know who to call if you need someone to carry your skis. We are all cheering for you,” said Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah.
Check back Tuesday for more send-offs.Watch: State of the Union Breath Mints, Groundhog Day and Trump Pointing, Pointing, Pointing: Congressional Hits and Misses