Just a little over 24 hours stand between now and the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2020. One tradition of the ceremony is the Parade of Nations, which comprises flag bearers from every participating nation.
Yesterday, the USA revealed basketball star Sue Bird and Miami Marlins’ infielder Eddy Alvarez as their flag bearers for the opening ceremony.
Bird and Alvarez to wave the USA flag in the opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics 2020
Bird is arguably the most experienced and decorated player on the USA women’s basketball team. Since her Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens Olympics, she has four gold medals to her name. In addition, also has multiple individual honours in the WNBA during her career with the Seattle Storm.
Many consider the 5″9 point guard, drafted by the Storm in 2002, as one of the greatest players in WNBA history. While she arrives at Tokyo with USA as defending champions at the Games, she also comes off the back of clinching the 2020 WNBA championship with the Storm.
Oct 2, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) laughs with teammates during game one of the WNBA finals against the Las Vegas Aces at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Although Bird makes her fifth consecutive appearance at the Olympics, Alvarez makes his debut at the Summer Olympics this year. Before his baseball career, Alvarez won a silver medal for speed skating in the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi. While the Chicago White Sox first drafted him in 2014, he only made his debut in Major League Baseball in March 2020.
With Baseball returning to the Olympic programme after 13 years, the Miami Marlins infielder looks to bring back a gold medal for USA in the sport. As for tomorrow however, the Florida-born athlete will share flag bearing duties with Bird. The 31-year-old took to Twitter to express his happiness on the selection.
— Eddy Alvarez (@eddyalvarez90) July 21, 2021
In the tweet, he wrote, “Thank you to everyone that honored me with this privilege! I will wave our colors proudly.”
Each country will have two flag bearers at the opening ceremony
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Michael Phelps was the lone flag bearer for the USA. Although previous editions of the Games had just one flag bearer at the opening ceremony, Tokyo will see two from each country after the IOC encouraged all participating nations to do so.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 05: Michael Phelps of the United States carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
According to the IOC, they claim the Tokyo Olympics are the most gender-equal games in Olympic history. They say, “With 49 per cent female participation, Tokyo 2020 will be the first gender-equal Olympic Games ever.”
The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics begins at 8:00pm local time and 7:00pm eastern time.
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