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July 2, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; Michael Phelps reacts after the men’s 100m butterfly finals in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials at CenturyLink Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports – RTX2JFWH
STANDARD BEARER

The US has announced who will carry its flag at the Olympic opening ceremony

By Kelsey Kennedy

Swimmer Michael Phelps has been named as the flag bearer who will lead the US Olympic team into the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Friday. Phelps’s fellow Olympic teammates voted for him to carry the flag at what will be his fifth appearance at the Games.

Phelps is known for his prowess in the pool and record-setting performances at the Olympics. He has won the most medals of any Olympic athlete—22—and is the first American male swimmer to qualify for five Olympics. He will be competing in three events at the Rio games.

In between competing, the swimmer has had somewhat of a tumultuous personal life, including a trip to rehab, and almost retired from swimming.

Phelps is only the second swimmer to carry the US flag in the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics. Track and Field athletes have been flag bearers more than athletes competing in other sports, according to a Team USA press release.

Phelps says the Rio games will give him the opportunity to truly appreciate being an Olympic athlete and representing his country. “This time around, it’s about so much more than medals,” he said in the release.