Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez, a 2014 Olympic silver medalist in speedskating, were selected as Team USA’s flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced. The Opening Ceremony will be held Friday, July 23, at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
Alvarez and Bird were chosen by a vote of fellow Team USA athletes and are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the Opening Ceremony, which serves as the official start to the Games. Of the 613 athletes who were named to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team, more than 230 are set to walk in Friday’s Opening Ceremony.
After making her Olympic debut at Athens 2004, the 40-year-old Bird has gone on to win four-straight Olympic gold medals and is in pursuit of her fifth-straight gold. Bird, who played on her first USA Basketball team in 2000, owns a combined nine Olympic and FIBA World Cup medals, which is the most of any basketball athlete, male or female, across the globe. Adding to her impressive resume, she is a four-time WNBA champion, five-time EuroLeague champion and two-time NCAA champion. She currently is the defending WNBA champion with the Seattle Storm, for which she has played since being drafted No. 1 in 2002 out of the University of Connecticut. Of note, she is one of just 11 players to have earned an Olympic gold medal, FIBA World Cup gold medal, WNBA title and NCAA title.
“It’s an incredible honor to be selected the flag bearer for Team USA,” said Bird. “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. Also, in the moment, I got to witness what it was to lead Team USA into the Opening Ceremony, and it’s an incredible feeling and once again, such a huge honor. Also, I know this isn’t about me. This is about all the players who either came before me and set the tone for what the USA Basketball women’s program is now, and also the players that I’ve been fortunate enough to play with. So, it’s not just about me. It’s representing all of them.”
Bird is the first basketball player to be named flag bearer since 2004, when Staley, now the 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team coach and a three-time Olympic gold medalist as an athlete, held the honor.
In March 2020 – and prior to the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games due to the COVID pandemic – the International Olympic Committee amended its policy to allow national teams to appoint two flag bearers – one female and one male – in promotion of gender parity. The IOC also required that at least one male and one female athlete be included in each of the 206 national delegations that will compete in Tokyo.
For more information on Team USA fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: