IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Who are the Team USA flag bearers for the 2022 Winter Olympics?

See the athletes who’ll do the honors for Team USA at Friday’s opening ceremony.

Athletes from all over the world will participate in the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics this Friday, with each nation’s team following their own designated flag bearers as part of the time-honored tradition.

And on Wednesday morning, TODAY revealed the names of the man and woman who’ll lead the way for Team USA — curler John Shuster and speedskater Brittany Bowe.

But that good news comes after an unexpected twist.

Team USA Portrait Shoot Ahead of Beijing 2022
Elana Meyers Taylor of Team United States poses for a portrait during the Team USA Beijing 2022 Olympic shoot on Sept. 12, 2021, in Irvine, California. Tom Pennington / Getty Images for Team USA

The athlete originally elected to walk alongside Shuster was bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor. However, the 37-year-old, who medaled at each of the past three Winter Games, recently tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to walk at Beijing National Stadium.

Instead, Taylor, who is currently asymptomatic and feeling well, called Bowe, 33, to inform her that she would get to take the walk in her place.

"I can’t think of a better honor, other than walking by myself, than having the opportunity to give to Brittany," Taylor explained when all three athletes joined TODAY via video. "Brittany is an absolutely amazing human being." 

Bowe recalled the moment she got the news.

"It’s funny, because I actually spoke with Elana earlier that day, knowing she had tested positive for COVID," she said. "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."

It seems a fitting turn of events for Bowe, who just last month made her own Olympic sacrifice for another hopeful.

Following the speedskating trials in Milwaukee, the Florida native gave up her own spot on the Olympic speedskating team to make sure a top-ranked skater who took a tumble during the trials — her childhood friend, Erin Jackson — could go in her place.

“Erin earned her right to be on this 500-meter team. She’s ranked No. 1 in the world,” Bowe told NBC Sports at the time. “No one is more deserving than her to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal. After that unfortunate slip, I knew in my mind before that night was even over that if it had to come down to a decision of mine, she could have my place.”

And now Bowe will make for a deserving flag bearer — as will Shuster, who’s already proven himself at the Olympics in years past.

The curler from Duluth, Minnesota, won a bronze medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics, and 12 years later, he led his team to gold in Pyeongchang. As part of this year’s curling team, he stands a chance to lead them to another medal.

But first, he and Bowe will lead all of Team USA for a walk they’ll never forget.

“To get to lead all the rest of these amazing athletes ... we’re going to do us proud,” he insisted. “It’s one of the biggest honors that I’ve ever had bestowed upon me.”