WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden extended its holiday theme of “Magic, Wonder and Joy” to the White House grounds with an ice rink on the South Lawn for children to skate and play hockey in December.
“Who’s ready to skate?” » she said, after several ice skating performances of Brian Boitano, 1988 Olympic gold medalist, and the cartoon dog Snoopy, among others. Earlier this week, she decorations revealed inside the Executive Mansion that she said were designed to help visitors experience “the magic, wonder and joy” of the holidays like they did as children.
The 50-by-70-foot (15.2-by-21.3-meter) rink will operate throughout December, but the White House has not specified days and times. Washington, D.C. area schoolchildren and children from families that include military personnel, frontline workers, first responders and teachers will be invited to skate.
The first lady recalled skating with her sisters on the frozen channels of the Delaware River when they were growing up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.
“We spent hours sliding on the glistening ice, our cheeks rosy from the cold,” she said. “And in those hours, what was normally an ordinary town and an ordinary bridge, you know, was transformed into a landscape that was bright and sparkling, and shimmering as if it were covered in magic.
“This is how children often see the world this time of year, with magical wonder and joy,” she continued. “What could be more magical and wonderful and joyful than, you know, being on an ice rink on the South Lawn of the White House. Who knew, right? It’s so awesome to look out the window and see this here.
As he escorted her off the ice, Boitano teased that he had an extra costume in the locker room in case she wanted to join the show.
“Why not,” Biden said, laughing all the way.
“We could do a really good pairs act,” Boitano said. The first lady left the ice, took her place in the front row in the audience and covered her knees with a blanket in the chilly 30-degree weather.
THE National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association will offer lessons through its “Learn to Play/Learn to Skate” program, which provides new participants with free head-to-toe equipment, weekly sessions and coaching.
This rink is not the first built on the White House grounds.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter, who was buried Wednesday in her hometown of Plains, Ga., had an ice rink built on the South Lawn for the Olympics Peggy Fleming to perform at Christmas receptions at the White House.
Other supporters of the new rink include the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation and Comcast Spectacor.