Basketball star LeBron James and footballer Megan Rapinoe are among a number of American Olympians to welcome Joe Biden as the President-elect of the United States.
Biden in effect became President-elect on Saturday after he was projected to win the 270 electoral college votes needed to beat incumbent Donald Trump.
Counting is still ongoing, with Biden currently projected to claim 306 electoral college votes by CNN, compared to Trump’s 232.
The final result may not be known for weeks after Trump revealed he would launch legal challenges against the election process.
Despite this, the majority of American athletes have reacted with joy and relief to the victory of the Democratic Party candidate Biden.
This includes James, who earned Olympic gold with the US in the men’s basketball contest at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
He posted a number of supportive messages on Twitter, including a superimposed photo of Biden blocking Trump from scoring two points in a basketball match.
Two-time Olympian Megan Rapinoe, part of the gold-medal winning US women’s football team at London 2012, was another to tweet her congratulations to Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris.
She had been a vocal opponent of Trump and her comments about refusing to visit the White House after triumphing at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France were widely publicised.
Rapinoe referred to this in another tweet, posting, “Update: I can’t get to the f**king White House fast enough now!!!”.
The 35-year-old has been a key figure in the US women’s national team’s battle against US Soccer for equal pay, a campaign which Biden has previously shown support for.
“To USWNT: don’t give up this fight,” he posted in May, shortly after the team had an unequal pay claim dismissed by a federal judge.
“This is not over yet.
“US Soccer: equal pay, now.
“Or else when I’m President, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding.”
Other American athletes who voiced their support for Biden on social media included freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs, who achieved Olympic gold in the under-74-kilogram contest at London 2012 and endured a shock quarter-final defeat at Rio 2016.
“I’m proud to be an American,” he posted.
“The flag flys high at our home no matter who the leader of our country is.
“But as a representative of the USA on the world stage, I stand a bit taller today knowing that our new President will represent our country with class and dignity.”
Sprinter Alyson Felix, who has nine gold medals and three silver medals across four Olympic Games, responded to the news that Harris would be US vice-president with the clapping emoji.
Paul Chelimo, silver medallist in the 5,000m at Rio 2016, said he had “never felt more American”.
Quadruple Rio 2016 gold medallist Simone Biles – also a 19-time gymnastics world champion – was another who reacted positively to the result, in particular Harris’ imminent status as the first female, first black and first Asian-American vice-president.
Biden has previous involvement in the Olympic world, when he served as vice-president to Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
He made a surprise appearance during the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Washington in 2015 and offered his implicit backing to Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympics.
Los Angeles was since awarded the hosting rights for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He also headed the US delegation at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and met the American team before the Opening Ceremony.
Biden will be 78 when he takes office in January, making him the oldest US President in history.