TOKYO — Four-time Olympic women’s basketball gold medalist Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez were chosen as U.S. flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night.
Alvarez, who won a silver medal in speedskating at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Bird were chosen by a vote of fellow U.S. athletes. They are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the ceremony.
Bird is the second U.S. women’s basketball player to carry the flag, joining current coach Dawn Staley, who did it at the 2004 games. Those were the first that Bird participated in.
“It’s an incredible honor to be selected the flag bearer for Team USA,” Bird said. “I know what that means, because I got to witness Dawn Staley go through it when she was selected in 2004. It’s an honor that is bigger than the moment in that you’ve been selected by your fellow Team USA athletes to represent the entire delegation, and it will last forever.”
Bird will be trying to win an unprecedented fifth gold medal with teammate Diana Taurasi, which would give them the most in golds in women’s basketball history.
Alvarez becomes the first baseball player to carry the flag for the U.S. The sport returned to the Games at the request of Japan after being absent from the previous two Olympics.
He made his major league debut last year with the Miami Marlins, but has been in the minors this year. If the U.S. baseball team were to medal, he’d be the only the third American to medal in both the Winter and Summer Games, joining Eddie Egan (boxing and bobsled) and Lauryn Williams (track and field and bobsled).
Softball: USA 2, Italy 0The United States has begun its quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal with a dominating performance from Cat Osterman, who lost the championship game 13 years ago.
The Texan pitched one-hit ball over six innings and struck out nine to beat Italy 2-0 Wednesday.
Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., which lost the title to Japan 3-1 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.
Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medalists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.
Softball and baseball were dropped for 2012 and 2016 and restored for these Olympics.
Women’s Soccer: Sweden 3, USA 0Sweden has once again stunned the United States at the Olympics, this time with a 3-0 victory in the women’s soccer tournament.
The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world and the favorites to win in Tokyo, were riding a 44-match unbeaten streak.
But Sweden, ranked No. 5, has been the U.S. team’s nemesis of sorts in recent years. The Swedes bounced the Americans from the 2016 Brazil Games in the quarterfinals, for the earliest U.S. Olympic exit ever.
Then in April, Sweden played the United States to a 1-1 draw in Stockholm, which snapped a winning streak dating back to January 2019, when the United States lost to France in the run-up to the World Cup.
The United States came out stale, with its best chance of the opening half coming in the final moments when Rose Lavelle’s shot hit the post. Coach Vlatko Andonovski made changes for the second half, subbing in Carli Lloyd for Alex Morgan and Julie Ertz for Sam Mewis.
Brisbane to host 2032 OlympicsBrisbane will host the 2032 Olympics, the inevitable winner of a one-city race steered by the International Olympic Committee to avoid rival bids.
The Games will go back to Australia 32 years after the popular 2000 Sydney Olympics. Melbourne hosted in 1956.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told International Olympic Committee voters in an 11-minute live video link from his office that Australia knows what it takes to deliver a successful Games.
Brisbane follows 2028 host Los Angeles in getting 11 years to prepare for hosting the Games. Paris will host in 2024.
The 2032 deal for the Australian east coast city looked done even months before the formal decision by IOC members at their meeting ahead of the Tokyo Games, which open Friday.