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Birthday girl Pellegrini prepares for Olympic flag duties

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Italian swimmer Federica Pellegrini will celebrate her birthday in style Friday by carrying her team‘s flag into the Olympic opening ceremony - while indulging herself with some special shoes.

"I will walk out in the normal uniform but I think I‘ll be daring with my choice of shoes," the now 28-year-old Pellegrini said before the ceremony at the Maracana stadium.

Pellegrini was 200-metre freestyle champion in Beijing 2008 but has not collected gold at a major finals since the last of her four world championships in 2011.

However, her impressive 2016 form includes an Italian record over 100m and the third quickest time of the year over 200m.

"I‘m not feeling any pressure or tension going to these Games. I‘m in good shape and ready for the competition," Pellegrini said.

The women‘s 200m freestyle is expected to be a highlight of the swimming week with Pellegrini likely competing against American prodigy Katie Ledecky and Swedish butterfly specialist Sarah Sjostrom for gold.

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