Out speed skater Brittany Bowe was one of two flag bearers chosen to lead the U.S. delegation in the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Games, now underway in Beijing.
The ceremonies kicked off today in the early morning hours for most viewers across the United States, with a festive spectacle of LED lights, dancers, and fireworks. The U.S. delegation of athletes entered the Bird’s Nest stadium at just after 8 a.m. E.T., with Bowe and fellow Olympian John Shuster bearing the stars and stripes.
Bowe, a three-time Olympian and bronze medal winner, made news this year after she gave up a spot in one of her qualifying events to teammate Erin Jackson. She was selected to be one of two U.S. flag bearers after Elana Meyers Taylor, previously selected for the honor, tested positive for Covid.
“This is an absolute honor of a lifetime,” Bowe told NBC news during its coverage of the ceremonies. “I can’t think of a more powerful and uniting moment as an athlete and as an American. And it’s an absolute honor to lead Team USA into the Opening Ceremony.”
At least 35 known out athletes will be competing in the 2022 Winter Games, according to Outsports, double the number who participated in the 2018 Winter Games. Joining Bowe on the ice is fellow speed skater Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands, who, with 11 medals, is the most decorated Olympic speed skater of all time.
Also out at the Olympics are snowboarders Bella Brockhoff (Australia) and Sarka Pancochova (Czech Republic), and 10 hockey players, all women, including Alex Carpenter of Team USA.