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Michael Phelps to carry U.S. flag at Olympic opening ceremony

By Ed Adamczyk
Michael Phelps, shown here at the 2013 ESPY Awards, was chosen the U.S. Olympic Team's ceremonial flag bearer, and will lead the team into Rio de Janeiro's Marancana Stadium on Friday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a899482a394a1495a603bee00863f19d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Michael Phelps, shown here at the 2013 ESPY Awards, was chosen the U.S. Olympic Team's ceremonial flag bearer, and will lead the team into Rio de Janeiro's Marancana Stadium on Friday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

COLORADO SPRINGS, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Swimmer Michael Phelps will be the flag bearer for the U.S. Olympic team when it enters Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium for opening ceremonies Friday, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced Wednesday.

The choice was made by a vote of team members.

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Phelps, 31, will participate in three individual swimming events in his fifth Summer Olympics, and is the most decorated of Olympians, with 22 medals, 18 of them gold. His eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympic Games, in Beijing, remains a record.

"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 (the 2000 Summer Olympics), I just wanted to make the team. For Athens (in 2004), I wanted to win gold for my country. For Beijing (in 2008), I wanted to do something nobody else had done. In London (in 2012), 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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This year's Olympics will be the first ever in South America. The games take place from Friday to Aug. 21.

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