by Doug Feinberg | The Associated Press
Four-time Olympic women’s basketball gold medalist Sue Bird and baseball player Eddie Alvarez were chosen as the US flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night.
Alvarez, who won a silver medal in speedskating at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Byrd were selected by votes from fellow American athletes. They are the first pair to share the honor of leading the delegation at the ceremony.
Byrd is the second American female basketball player to carry the flag, joining current coach Don Staley, who did so at the 2004 Games in Athens. They were the first in which Bird participated.
“It’s an incredible honor to be chosen as the flag bearer for Team USA,” Bird said. “I know what that means, because I got to go through it when Don Staley was elected in 2004. It’s an honor that’s bigger than the moment you get to be represented as a whole by your fellow Team USA athletes.” Has been elected to the delegation, and it will go on forever.”
Byrd is trying to win an unprecedented fifth gold medal with teammate Diana Taurasi, which will bring her the gold medal in women’s basketball history.
Alvarez became the first baseball player to carry the flag for the US and returned to the Games at the request of Japan after being absent from the previous two Olympics.
He made his major league debut last year with the Miami Marlins, but he has been in the minors this year. If the US baseball team were up for a medal, it would be only the third American to win a medal in both the Winter and Summer Games, joining Eddie Egan (boxing and bobsleigh) and Lauryn Williams (track and field and bobsleigh).