Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez to carry US flag at Olympic ceremony

Olympic medalists Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez will carry the American flag in the National Stadium of Japan during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games on Friday.

The US team announced the selections on Wednesday.

As a rule, the honor is bestowed on a single athlete from each national delegation. But this year, the International Olympic Committee asked teams to choose both a man and a woman to signify gender equality.

Bird, 40, made her fifth appearance on the U.S. women’s basketball team and won four gold medals.

Alvarez, 31, is an infielder with the Miami Marlins organization and a member of the United States baseball team. He won a silver medal in the short track speed skating team relay at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

“Thank you to everyone who honored me with this privilege! I will proudly wave our colors,” Alvarez wrote on Twitter.

The opening ceremony, delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled for Friday. More than 11,000 athletes from 205 countries will participate and enter a nearly empty stadium as Tokyo’s continued fight against the virus forces organizers to stage events without spectators in the stands.

First Lady Jill Biden, leading the US delegation, is expected to be among the limited number of guests in attendance.

Organizers said on Tuesday that at least 71 people linked to the Olympics had tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in the country. Tokyo and neighboring prefectures are operating under a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

– Field level media

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