RIO DE JANEIRO: Swimming superstar Michael Phelps will carry the United States flag at the opening ceremony for the Olympics in Rio, the US Olympic Committee said Wednesday.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals including 18 golds, was chosen for the honor following a vote of Team USA members.
“I’m honored to be chosen, proud to represent the US, and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for,” said Phelps, who will be swimming in his fifth Olympics.
“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.”
Friday’s opening ceremony takes place at the Maracana Stadium, the iconic Brazilian football cathedral which sits under the gaze of Rio’s iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue.
Phelps made history at the Beijing Games in 2008 by winning a staggering eight gold medals in eight events.
He will seek to add to his historic total when he competes in three individual events in Rio.