Sue Bird, Eddy Alvarez named US flagbearers for Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony


TOKYO — Veteran women’s basketball player Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez will be the flag-bearers for the U.S. delegation at the Tokyo Olympics, according to a report on Wednesday from NBC, the U.S. television rights-holder for the Games.

It will be the first time that Team USA has had two flag-bearers.

Bird, 40, is a four-time Olympic gold medalist who will be participating in her fifth Games in Tokyo, where the U.S. women’s team is heavily favored to win gold again. Alvarez, meanwhile, is on the U.S. baseball team, as the sport returns to the Olympics. He also has the unique distinction of participating in both the Winter and Summer Games; He won a silver medal in speed skating at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Alvarez, who made his major league debut in 2020 and is part of the Marlins system, let it slip Saturday during a conference call with reporters that he was being considered for the honor of being a flagbearer. 

“I didn’t think this was ever going to be an opportunity for me,” said Alvarez, who is Cuban American and grew up in the Miami area. “This is a super big opportunity for me and my culture, to be able to represent my background and my people. To be able to potentially be the flag-bearer, to hold Old Glory, a symbol of liberty and freedom to many around the world, not just the United States, this one means a lot. This is very special.”

Swimmer Michael Phelps was the U.S. flag-bearer at the last Summer Olympics, in Rio in 2016.

Tokyo 2020 organizers have kept details of the opening ceremony under wraps, declining to say how many athletes will be allowed to march.

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