The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are so close. With the opening ceremony right around the corner, Team USA has announced its flag bearers for the ceremony.
Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez were chosen for the honor. The decision was made by fellow Team USA members. Both Bird and Alvarez have quite a professional record as well as Olympic experience.
Bird, one of the GOATs of women’s basketball has already won four gold medals with Team USA. At 40-years old Bird is still going and looking for her fifth gold medal. Alvarez has played Major League Baseball with the Miami Marlins but his Olympic expertise is in another sport entirely. Alvarez is a 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics medalist. He achieved silver in the men’s speed skating 5000m relay. Now, he will represent Team USA on the baseball diamond.
Alvarez has been playing professional baseball since being signed to the Chicago White Sox on a minor league contract in 2014. The dual-sport athlete is one of the most interesting Olympians as far as athletic background goes.
After being selected, both Bird and Alvarez shared their appreciation for the honor. Bird said on Wednesday, “I think that’s the best part, to be honest, to have your peers be the one to kind of see your career and pick you to be the one to lead us in,” the WNBA star said on Wednesday.
Alvarez was a little more choked up, the 31-year old Cuban-American told media, “It means everything to me. To be able to lead Team USA is an absolute honor.” This isn’t a typical Olympic year, but the honor remains the same. Bird will be coached by a former flag bearer, Dawn Staley. Staley and Bird won gold together in 2004 when she bore the flag.
Team USA and Two Flag Bearers
Bird made note that the opening ceremony, besides winning, is her favorite part of the games. The women’s national basketball team has quite the record in the Olympics and will look to make more history. Bird, a multi-generational talent has been part of a lot of that rich history.
For those thinking that only one flag bearer is typically chosen, you aren’t wrong. Nations usually just designate one person to carry the flag. However, with almost a 50/50 split of women to men athletes, the International Olympic Committee made recommendations to have two flag bearers. Ideally, one female and one male according to the IOC.
The tradition of carrying flags into the opening ceremony dates back to 1908. Ralph Rose carried the U.S. flag in those games. Now, Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez will continue that tradition.