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Sue Bird. Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Veteran women's basketball star Sue Bird and baseball player Eddy Alvarez will be the flag bearers at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced.

Driving the news: The International Olympic Committee, calling this year's event the "first gender-equal Olympic Games ever," encouraged teams to have one woman and one man serve as their flag bearers.

  • “For the first time, there will be at least one female and one male athlete in each of the teams participating in the Games," the IOC also said.

The big picture: Bird, 40, has won four gold medals with the women's basketball team since 2004.

  • Alvarez, 31, who has played with the Miami Marlins, won a silver medal in speedskating at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
  • They were chosen by a vote of other Team USA athletes and "are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the Opening Ceremony," the U.S. Olympic committee said.

What to watch: The opening ceremony kicks off on July 23. NBC will broadcast the event beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET.

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2021 - Sports

NCAA to use "March Madness" brand for women's basketball tournament

The Stanford Cardinal celebrate the win over the Arizona Wildcats during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on April 4. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

The NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament in 2022 will use the "March Madness" branding that has long been used only for the men's tournament, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes after gender inequities at the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments in 2021 sparked national outrage.

1 hour ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.