Louis Zamperini

World War II hero, Olympian Louis Zamperini to be Rose Parade grand marshal (video)

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Louis Zamperini, the 1936 Olympian and World War II prisoner of war, will be the grand marshal of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day 2015, the Tournament of Roses said Friday.

“It is such an honor to be the grand marshal of the 126th Rose Parade,” Zamperini, 97, said in a press release. “Growing up in Torrance, the parade route on Colorado Boulevard is one I have been familiar with my whole life. I look forward to sharing the experience with my family and all the fans of the Rose Parade who will be watching.”

Zamperini placed eighth in the 5000m at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1943, as an Army bombardier, he survived 47 days in the Pacific Ocean with two other men after their military plane crashed and then two years at a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

His story is the subject of the best-selling book, “Unbroken,” which is being made into a film directed by Angelina Jolie that was scheduled to be released later this year.

“I made a new friend — Angelina Jolie,” Zamperini, wearing a red USC Trojans cap and navy blue U.S. Olympic Team jacket, said Friday. “The gal really loves me. She hugs me and kisses me ’til I can’t complain.”

Past Rose Parade grand marshals include Olympic champions Carl Lewis and Shannon Miller in 1997.

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20:  (L-R) Gold medalists Diana Taurasi #12 and Sue Bird #6 of United States celebrate during the medal ceremony after the Women's Basketball competition on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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As expected the U.S. took gold in both men’s and women’s basketball, with the men winning their third consecutive Olympic gold medal and the women running their streak to six straight. But there was a lot more to take in at the basketball venues, including Serbia’s men’s team winning their first Olympic basketball medal (as an independent nation), and Spain doing the same in the women’s bracket.

To watch the top basketball moments of the Rio Olympics, click here.

WATCH: Top track and field moments of the Rio Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning the Men's 100 meter final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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From Sam Kendrick’s patriotic moment to Usain Bolt’s “triple-triple,” check out the best moments from the 2016 Rio Olympics track and field competition.

You can watch all of these moments here.