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Team USA departs for Winter Olympics in Beijing

It's the countdown to the Winter Olympics in Beijing and athletes from around the world are on their way to China.

LOS ANGELES — More than 200 athletes, coaches, and trainers are on their way to the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Typically they travel individually to the Games but for the first time Delta Airlines is providing a Team USA charter flight. The airline rolled out a red carpet inside a private hangar at LAX on Thursday to congratulate them on their Olympic journey.

"I'm super excited to go to China just because … my face is basically on Delta, which is super cool," said Maame Biney of Reston, VA, who will compete in Short Track Speedskating. "I'm also really excited to represent this country because it has done so much for me and given me so many opportunities and I'm forever grateful for that, for sure."

From cross-country skiing to curling, 30 athletes with Minnesota ties will be going for gold.

All athletes are required to be vaccinated or undergo a quarantine after arriving in China. Their living quarters are isolated from the outside world.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party is enforcing its "zero tolerance" strategy, requiring anyone infected with the virus to isolate.

The Beijing Olympics begin Thursday, Feb. 3 and only select spectators will be allowed to watch in-person. You can watch the events, including the opening ceremony on KARE 11.

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