Phelps to carry U.S. flag during Olympic opening

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps laughs during an Aug. 20, 2014 news conference ahead of the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The most decorated athlete in Olympic history will carry the United States flag during the opening ceremony for the Rio Games.

Michael Phelps was selected in a vote by members of the U.S. Olympic team. The decision was announced Wednesday morning.

Phelps was a logical choice heading into his fifth Summer Games. He has won 18 golds and 22 medals overall, far more than any other athlete.

Michael Phelps, Olympic Trials, Rio
Michael Phelps swims in the men’s 200-meter butterfly final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Phelps won the race.

Phelps skipped the opening ceremony at the last three Olympics to rest up for the grueling 400-meter individual medley, which is held the next day.

But with that event no longer a part of his program, Phelps is available to carry the flag in Friday night’s ceremony at the Maracana.

Phelps says he is “humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all that it stands for.”

Last month, Phelps was also chosen by his teammates as a captain of the U.S. men’s swimming team for the first time.

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