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Michael Phelps Named Team USA's Flag-Bearer for 2016 Olympics

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2016

Michael Phelps waves to fans after the men's 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, Saturday, July 2, 2016, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press

In his fifth and likely final Olympics, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps was named Team USA's flag-bearer for Friday's opening ceremony at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. 

According to TeamUSA.org, his United States teammates chose Phelps through a vote.

The 31-year-old had the following to say regarding his selection, per TeamUSA.org:

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. 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.

In terms of accomplishments, Phelps was an obvious choice to hoist the flag in Brazil.

His 22 medals and 18 Olympic golds are the most in the history of the Olympics, and he has a great opportunity to cement his legacy even more in Rio.

The Baltimore native will be the first swimmer to carry the flag for Team USA since Gary Hall did so in 1976.

While the 2012 London Olympics were supposed to be Phelps' last, he couldn't stay away from the pool, and his decision to come back landed him what may well be one of the greatest honors of his illustrious career.

     

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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