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Bird, Alvarez chosen to carry the American flag at the opening ceremony

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Quadruple Olympic gold medalist in women’s basketball Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez have been chosen as the American flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night.

Alvarez, who won a silver medal in speed skating at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, and Bird were chosen by a vote of other American athletes. They are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation to the ceremony.

Bird is the second American basketball player to carry the flag, joining current coach Dawn Staley, who did so at the 2004 Games. These were the first Birds attended.

It’s an incredible honor to be chosen as the American team flag bearer, said Bird. I know what that means because I got to see Dawn Staley go through it when she was selected in 2004. It is an honor that is greater than when you were selected by your fellow athletes in the American team to represent the entire delegation, and it will go on forever.

Bird will look to win an all-time fifth gold medal with teammate Diana Taurasi, which would give them the most gold in women’s basketball history.

Alvarez becomes the first baseball player to wear the United States flag. The sport returned to the Games at the behest of Japan after being absent from the previous two Olympics.

He made his major league debut last year with the Miami Marlins, but has been in the minors this year. If the United States baseball team won a medal, they would be the only third American to win a medal at the Winter and Summer Games, joining Eddie Egan (boxing and bobsleigh) and Lauryn Williams (track and field and bobsleigh) .

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More AP: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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