Quadruple Olympic gold medalist in women’s basketball Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez have been chosen as the American flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night.
Alvarez, who won a silver medal in speed skating at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, and Bird were chosen by a vote of other American athletes. They are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation to the ceremony.
Bird is the second American basketball player to carry the flag, join current coach Dawn Staley, which made it to the 2004 games. These were the first ones that Bird participated in.
“It is an incredible honor to be chosen as the American team flag bearer,” said Bird. “I know what that means, because I got to see Dawn Staley go through this when she was selected in 2004. It is an honor that is greater than when you were selected by your fellow athletes from the US team to represent the whole delegation, and it will last forever.
Bird will look to win an all-time fifth gold medal with teammate Diana Taurasi, which would give them the most gold in women’s basketball history.
Alvarez becomes the first baseball player to wear the United States flag. The sport returned to the Games at the behest of Japan after being absent from the previous two Olympics.
He made his major league debut last year with the Miami Marlins, but has been in the minors this year. If the American baseball team won a medal, they would be the only American to win a medal at the Winter and Summer Games, joining Eddie Egan (boxing and bobsleigh) and Lauryn Williams (track and field and bobsleigh).
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a founding member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost