Sue Bird and Eddy Álvarez, the flag bearers of the United States

The basketball player Sue bird and the baseball player Eddy alvarez They will be the flag bearers for the US team at Friday’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said on Wednesday.

Bird, a four-time Olympic champion, and Álvarez, who won a silver in speed skating at Sochi 2014, were chosen by their peers and are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation at the opening ceremony.

Bird, 40, is the first basketball player named a flag bearer since Dawn Staley, coach of the current team, in 2004.

“It is an incredible honor to be selected as the flag bearer for Team USA,” Bird said. “I know what that means because I got to witness Dawn Staley when she was selected in 2004.”

Álvarez, a first-generation Cuban-American, also brings Olympic experience to Tokyo, winning silver as part of the four-man 5,000-meter short track speed skating team in Sochi.

“My family has sacrificed a lot for me to have the opportunity to wave this flag with pride,” Alvarez said.

“I am grateful for my time with US speed skating and baseball, as well as all my teammates, and I am honored to lead the US team to the Tokyo Olympics,” he added.

United Statess will send a team of 613 athletes to the Olympics, its second-largest delegation at an Olympics, behind only the 648 it led to Atlanta 1996.

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