Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was selected as Team USA’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games, the United States Olympic Committee announced today. The Opening Ceremony will be held Aug. 5 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Phelps, who is the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fifth Olympic Games, was chosen by a vote of fellow Team USA members.
Phelps made history at the Beijing Games in 2008 when he won gold medals in eight events and added to his legacy in 2012 when he became the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 career medals, including 18 golds. Set to compete in three individual events in Rio, Phelps, will look to add to his historic Olympic medal haul in 2016.
“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.”
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Note – Swimmming will be well represented in the 2016 Parade of Nations, with at least 13 flag bearers: Anastasija Bogdanovski (MKD), Vahan Mkhitaryan (ARM), Nada Al-Bedwawi (UAE), Michael Phelps (USA), Stephanie Au (HKG), Federica Pellegrini (ITA), Aminath Shajan (MDV), Andrew Chetcuti (MLT), Ryan Pini (PNG), Adzo Kpossi (TOG), Oussama Mellouli (TUN), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Yusra Mardini (ROA)