BEIJING (NEXSTAR) — Team USA on Wednesday named its flag-bearers for the Beijing Winter Olympics, including one that was replacing another athlete who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Team USA announced on NBC’s “Today” that curler John Shuster and speedskater Brittany Bowe will be the two flag-bearers for the opening ceremony on Friday.
Bowe is set to replace bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, who recently tested positive for the coronavirus, meaning she will be unable to participate in the opening ceremony. Hours before testing positive for the virus, Taylor spoke with reporter Matt Barnes. At the time, she was in good spirits and looking forward to the opportunity.
“I can’t think of anything greater than this,” Taylor said.
You can see their full conversation in the video above.
Taylor called Bowe to inform her that she will replace her for the opening ceremony festivities, according to NBC News.
“It’s funny, because I actually spoke with Elana earlier that day, knowing she had tested positive for COVID,” Bowe said on “Today.”
“So, then to get called into the [U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee] room for a phone call, and then it was Elana on the phone, presenting me with the honor of carrying the flag on her behalf — what an honor, a privilege. For once, completely at a loss for words.”
Taylor called Bowe an “amazing human being.”
“I can’t think of a better honor, other than walking by myself, than having the opportunity to give to Brittany,” Taylor said on “Today.” “Brittany is an absolutely amazing human being.”
The naming of the flag bearers comes as most countries are currently dealing with a winter surge of COVID-19 infections as the omicron variant has swept across the globe.
“It’s a tremendous honor and one that I’m definitely not taking lightly,” Shuster said.
The opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will air Feb. 4.