Michael Phelps, who announced yesterday that he will be bearing the U.S. Olympic flag in the opening ceremonies tonight, will be bowing out of the Olympic opening ceremony early tonight.
USA Today is reporting that after bringing his flag into Maracana Stadium, Phelps will be driven back to the Olympic Village by NBC staffers. Most other flag bearers will stay for the duration of the ceremony.
The decision of high-profile athletes to leave the ceremonies early is not completely unprecedented.
At the 2016 US Olympic Trials last month, Phelps narrowed his focus to only his three best events: the 100 and 200 butterflies and the 200 IM. Phelps was victorious in all three events, and will swim each of them in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Besides his spot on the medley relay, he is also being considered for the American free relays as well.