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1ST LEAD Phelps and Murray named as flag bearers for Olympic ceremony By Albert Otti and Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - American swimming star Michael Phelps and Britain‘s Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray have been chosen as flag bearers for the Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday in Rio de Janeiro‘s Maracana stadium.

"I‘m honoured to be chosen, proud to represent the US, and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for," Phelps, whose 22 previous medals make him the most successful summer Olympian, said Wednesday.

"This time around, it‘s about so much more than medals," said the 31-year-old athlete, who has rebounded from alcohol problems.

Phelps was nominated by US swimming and then won a vote of his peers across every Olympic discipline to carry the flag in what will be his fifth, and likely last, Games.

Murray was nominated by sport team leaders and then chosen by a panel led by British chef de mission Mark England.

"I am very proud to be selected as the Team GB flag bearer for the opening ceremony on Friday," Murray said. "To represent your country at the Games is an unbelievable experience, but to lead out Team GB will be an incredible honour, the biggest in sport."

Murray won singles gold and mixed doubles silver in 2012, and has three grand slams, including this year‘s Wimbledon, to his name.

Also on Wednesday, Russia confirmed that 40-year-old volleyball player Sergey Tetyukhin would carry his country‘s flag in the ceremony. Tetyukhin, like Phelps, is attending his fifth Games, and was part of the Russian team that won gold in 2012.

The Russian Olympic team has been greatly cut due to the athletics team being banned by the sport governing body IAAF and dozens of other athletes missing out after having been implicated in a doping scandal.

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