Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez selected as flag bearers for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Video courtesy USA Basketball

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, and baseball player Eddy Alvarez, a 2014 Olympic silver medalist in speedskating, were picked as the flag bearers for Team USA for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympics. After a vote of a selection of Team USA members, the duo become the first pair of athletes to share the honor. The ceremony takes place Friday morning at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Bird, along with Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, is in pursuit of a fifth Olympic gold medal with the Senior Women’s National Team. She follows in the footsteps of USA coach Dawn Staley who carried the flag in 2004 in the Athens Olympic Games. Bird participated in the Athens Games as well, walking behind Staley in the Team USA delegation.

“I don’t even know if I’ve fully digested it yet,” Bird said Wednesday about the honor. “It was pretty shocking when I heard. The thought of other athletes being the ones to pick the flag bearers, being the ones that chose myself and chose Eddy, makes the honor that much more special, but also that we’ll be leading the entire USA delegation into opening ceremonies. There’s something really special, and I know firsthand because I got to be right behind Dawn when she did it in 2004.”

Her former Storm teammate, Lauren Jackson, also enjoyed the privilege, carrying the flag for Australia for the 2012 London Olympics. Jackson sent Bird a congratulatory text upon hearing the news. They won two WNBA championships in Seattle together, including the first one for the franchise in 2004.

“It’s pretty crazy to have two players from Seattle be flag-bearers for their countries,” Bird said just hours before the opening event.

NBC will broadcast the opening ceremony live at 6:55 a.m. ET/3:55 a.m. PT. A prime time presentation of the event takes place later in the day beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

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