American girls’ basketball star Sue Bird and USA Baseball infielder Eddy Alvarez will serve as the flag bearers at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, it was revealed in Wednesday ‘TODAY’ program.
Bird, 40, has won four gold medals with the women’s team since 2004. Alvarez, 31, played for the Miami Marlins and won a silver medal in speed skating at the Olympic Winter Games from 2014.
Traditionally, one person has typically served as a flag bearer at the Olympics, but this year has been replaced by two after the International Olympic Committee encouraged a man and a woman to represent each nation as a symbol of parity of the people. sexes. The flag bearers are chosen by their fellow athletes.
“With 49% female participation, Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic Games with gender parity,” said the IOC. “For the first time, there will be at least one woman and one man on each of the teams participating in the Games.
Fencer Janice Lee Romary was the first American woman to carry the flag in 1968 in Mexico City. Athletes carrying their country’s flags date back to the 1908 Games in London. Track and field star Ralph Rose was the first American athlete to serve as a flag bearer.
Swimmer Michael Phelps was the U.S. flag bearer at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. He would win six medals, including five gold, bringing his career total to 28 and making him the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
The athletes will have a distinctive look at the ceremony. Designed by Ralph Lauren, the uniforms will include a navy blazer, striped t-shirt, flag print scarf, skinny jeans, striped belt, cotton mask and matching shoes more red, white and blue. Flag bearers will also be the only athletes on the team wearing white denim jackets.