In total there will be 22 swimmers bearing their nations flag at the Opening Ceremonies in Rio tonight, up one from the 21 that did so four years ago in London.
Among them will be four Olympic gold medalists – Michael Phelps (18), Kirsty Coventry (2), Oussama Mellouli (2) and Federica Pellegrini (1). Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history with 18 gold medals and 22 medals total spanning over the last three Games, while Coventry won back-to-back 200 back titles in 2004 and 2008, and Mellouli won the 1500 free in 2008 and the 10 KM Open Water event four years ago. Pellegrini won gold in 2008 in the 200 freestyle, and has medalled in that event at six consecutive World Championships.
This is a first for all other than Coventry and Ryan Pini, as Coventry carried Zimbabwe’s flag in London and Pini carried Papua New Guinea’s back in 2008.
Others swimmers bearing their nations flag who have had some success on the Olympic stage include Therese Alshammar (SWE) and Pini (PNG). Alshammar is a three-time Olympic medalist, winning all 16 years ago in Sydney. Alshammar will compete in her sixth consecutive Olympics in Rio.
Pini, set for his fourth Olympics, became the first person from Papua New Guinea to swim in an Olympic final in 2008, placing 8th in the 100 fly.
Full list of swimmers who will be flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony:
- Hannibal Gaskin, Guyana
- Benjamin Schulte, Guam
- Joshoa Ekirikubinza, Ghana
- Anastasija Bogdanovski, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
- Michael Phelps, United States of America
- Nada Al-Bedwawi, United Arab Emirates
- Mohaamed Andhumdine Nazlati, Comoros
- Farhan Saleh, Bahrain
- Vahan Mkhitaryan, Armenia
- Stephanie Au, Hong Kong
- Federica Pellegrini, Italy
- Julia Hassler, Liechtenstein
- Aminath Shajan, Maldives
- Andrew Chetcuti, Malta
- Ryan Pini, Papua New Guinea
- Bunturabie Jalloh, Sierra Leone
- Therese Alshammar, Sweden
- Adzo Kpossi, Togo
- Oussama Mellouli, Tunisia
- Merdan Atayev, Turkmenistan
- Joshua Tibatemwa, Uganda
- Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwe
Check out the full list of flag bearers here.