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Sue Bird, Eddy Alvarez chosen as U.S. flag bearers for Opening Ceremony

Sue Bird, Eddy Alvarez chosen as U.S. flag bearers for Opening Ceremony
Posted at 5:15 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 23:34:44-04

The United States' flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics have been chosen.

It was announced on Wednesday morning's episode of 'TODAY' that women's basketball star Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez would lead the U.S. out of the tunnel for the Opening Ceremony.

This will be the first time in Olympic history that participating countries will each include both a male and female athlete carrying the flag for the Opening Ceremony.

View social media post: https://twitter.com/TODAYshow/status/1417806949660381185

Bird is one of the most decorated women's basketball players in history. The 40-year-old is a four-time WNBA champion and has helped guide Team USA to four Olympic gold medals in women's basketball, on top of four additional gold medals at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup.

Alvarez, 31, is an infielder for the Miami Marlins organization, but rose to fame at the Sochi Olympics when he won a silver medal in short track speed skating. He is the first Winter Olympian ever to appear in a Major League Baseball game, and the first individual since Jim Thorpe to compete in the Olympics (in an event other than baseball) and MLB. Thorpe won two gold medals in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in classic pentathlon and decathlon. A year later, he signed with the New York Giants and played six MLB seasons.

"I think that's the best part," Bird told 'TODAY' of being selected by her peers as a flag bearer.

"To have your peers be the one to kind of see your career and pick you to be the one to lead us in. People always ask me what my favorite Olympic moment is, and it's always been that in 2004, my teammate at the time, who's now my coach, Dawn Staley, she was selected as the flag bearer. And we got to be in the front with her, and that's always been my favorite moment outside of winning, obviously. So to actually be named that now is mind-blowing."

Bird and Alvarez will carry out the American flag together when the Opening Ceremony begins at 7 a.m. ET on Friday, July 23.