Breaking News
More () »

Elana Meyers Taylor, John Shuster elected as Team USA Opening Ceremony flag bearers

One of the flag bearers elected by their Team USA peers tested positive for COVID, so an alternate representative has been announced.

WASHINGTON — John Shuster and Brittany Bowe will carry the flag for the United States during the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics

Bowe will replace Elana Meyers Taylor, who is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Beijing for the competitions. 

The flag bearers are selected through a vote of fellow Team USA athletes and are the second duo to share the honor of leading the athletes into the Opening Ceremony, according to Team USA.

Bowe came in second in the votes after Meyers Taylor.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed its guidelines last year to emphasize gender equality at the Tokyo Olympics by allowing for there to be one male and one female athlete jointly carrying each nations' flags at the Opening Ceremony. 

In a Tweet, Team USA called the position "the honor of a lifetime" and congratulated the elected athletes. 

Shuster led the U.S. curling team to victory in 2018, becoming the first American team to win gold in curling. He has competed in every Winter Games since 2006, and won the bronze medal during his first Olympic performance in Turin. 

World Cup champion Elana Meyers Taylor is the only woman to win three Olympic bobsled medals for the U.S., with two silvers and a bronze medal under her belt. She's considered a medal contender in both the women's bobsled and the women's monobob, a new event this year featuring just the driver in the sled.

"Being voted by my peers as the flag bearer is the biggest honor of my career," said Meyers Taylor in a statement. "I'm honored to be a part of this team, and coming from a military family, it's really special to have been chosen to carry our flag."

But Meyers Taylor's chances of competing are in jeopardy after she announced Tuesday that she had tested positive for COVID-19. 

During Wednesday's flag bearer announcement, she explained that she is asymptomatic and quarantining in a hotel in the hopes that she will be cleared before bobsled events begin in the second week of the Games. 

Replacing Meyers Taylor as flag bearer will be Brittany Bowe, a speed skater with the current world record for 1,000 meters. She is returning to the Olympics after winning Bronze in 2018, but failing to place during the Sochi, Russia games in 2014. 

"I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead Team USA into the Opening Ceremony,” Bowe said in a statement. “Taking on this responsibility is the honor of a lifetime, and I will proudly carry the American flag on behalf of Elana, her family, and all of Team USA."

Ahead of this year's Olympic Games, Bowe gave up her spot in the 500m speed skating competition to teammate Erin Jackson, who stumbled during the trials but had the fastest 500m time at the World Cup Series. 

The U.S. will be the 56th country to march in the parade of athletes Friday. As is tradition, Greece will start and the host country — China in this case — will bring up the rear. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out