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Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez will be the flag bearers for the United States during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies on Friday.
Bird is a basketball legend on the global and club level. She already comes into the 2020 Games with four gold medals to her credit and is poised for another one this summer. Bird is also a four-time WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm and a five-time Russian National League champion.
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She reacted with red, white and blue heart emojis on Twitter once she and Alvarez were announced as the flag bearers.
“It’s an incredible honor to be selected the flag bearer for Team USA,” she said Wednesday. “I know what that means, because I got to witness Dawn Staley go through it when she was selected in 2004. It’s an honor that is bigger than the moment in that you’ve been selected by your fellow Team USA athletes to represent the entire delegation, and it will last forever.”
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Bird is the second American female basketball player to carry the flag. Team USA coach Dawn Staley carried the flag when she was a player in the 2004 Olympics.
Alvarez won a silver medal in speed skating in 2014 in Sochi. He has balanced the ice and the diamond and made his major league debut with the Miami Marlins in 2020. He’s been in the minor leagues all of 2021.
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Alvarez called it a “privilege.”
The 31-year-old is on the Team USA baseball team, which is back in the Olympics after a 13-year hiatus.
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Should the U.S. medal in baseball, Alvarez would be the third American to medal in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. Eddie Egan did it in boxing and bobsled, and Lauryn Williams did it in track and field and bobsled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.