Rio 2016: Michael Phelps named United States flag bearer for Opening Ceremony

Opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil take place on Friday, Aug.5. On Wednesday, as the Olympics are officially set to kickoff with the women’s soccer tournament, the United States announced its flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony will be none other than swimming star Michael Phelps.

Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 22 career medals, including 18 golds.

The all-time great will participate in three individual events in Rio.

“I’m honored to be chosen, proud to represent the U.S., and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for,” Phelps said. “For Sydney, I just wanted to make the team. For Athens, I wanted to win gold for my country. For Beijing, I wanted to do something nobody else had done. In London, I wanted to make history. And now, I want to walk in the Opening Ceremony, take it all in, represent America in the best possible way and make my family proud. This time around, it’s about so much more than medals.”

Phelps becomes the second swimmer to bear the flag for the United States at an Olympics Opening Ceremony, joining four-time Olympic medalist Gary Hall, who carried the flag at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

The Opening Ceremony will be held Aug. 5 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

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