Summary List Placement
Sue Bird is one of Team USA’s flag bearers for the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
And the USA Basketball great learned of the honor in a surprise announcement from her best friend and fellow five-time Olympian, Diana Taurasi.
After their practice in Tokyo Wednesday, the American players and coaches huddled up and Taurasi — the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer — stepped forward for a brief speech.
“I’d like to announce that Sue will be the flag bearer for Team USA,” she said, prompting the entire team to applaud.
Bird smiled and quickly became emotional, covering her face as her teammates continued to hoot and holler. Then she offered some words of her own, though the 40-year-old insisted that she’s “not making a speech.”
“Anything I get has to do with the people that are here and do it with me,” Bird said. “It’s never on one person. That’s how I feel I’ve built my career, so this is just another moment that I think exemplifies that.”
“Thank you to all of you for being a part of this,” she added.
Then, she and head coach Dawn Staley shared a hug. Back in her days as an Olympic point guard, Staley became the first USA Basketball player honored as Team USA’s flag bearer. Now, Bird is the second.
What better way to start your fifth Olympic Games than as @TeamUSA‘s Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer!
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 21, 2021
Bird joins Eddy Alvarez as Team USA’s flag bearers for Friday’s opening ceremony at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium. The infielder is set to become the first USA Baseball player to earn the prestigious honor.
Though the 31-year-old is making his Summer Olympics debut in Japan, he has long enjoyed Olympian status. A multi-sport athlete, Alvarez competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and earned a silver medal in the men’s short track speed skating 5000-meter relay.
Fans can watch Bird and Alvarez lead Team USA in the Tokyo opening ceremony Friday at 6:55 a.m. ET on NBC or during a primetime replay scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to the parade of nations, the event will include special performances by Japanese artists, an inspiring IOC short film that celebrates progress and broken boundaries in sport, and the lighting of the Olympic torch.