The Rio Olympics are officially underway, with the Opening Ceremony being held Friday night at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The United States brought the largest delegation to Rio, with 554 athletes representing the country.
Leading the delegation into the Maracanã was swimmer Michael Phelps, who’s competing in his fourth Summer Olympics and with 22 medals (18 of which are gold) he’s the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.
Usually the United States has to wait until the latter stages of the parade of athletes to enter the stadium, but that wasn’t the case this time around. With the nations entering in order of their name in Brazilian Portuguese, the United States entered as the “Estados Unidos da America,” which meant a much shorter wait for the athletes than usual.
Phelps is just the second swimmer to serve as the flag bearer in United States Olympic history, with Gary Hall receiving the honor in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. In prior Summer Olympics Phelps swam on the first day of the swimming competition, which is traditionally held the day after the Opening Ceremony. But that won’t be the case in Rio, which opened the door for him to be the flag bearer for Team USA.