Brittany Bowe and John Shuster Lead Team USA During Opening Ceremony's Parade of Nations: 'So Cool'

"This is an absolute honor of a lifetime," Olympic speed skater Brittany Bowe said during the Opening Ceremony's Parade of Nations at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Flag bearers Brittany Bowe and John Shuster of Team United States carry their flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Three-time Olympic speed skater Brittany Bowe and five-time Olympic curler John Shuster led Team USA during the Opening Ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

On Friday morning, Bowe, 33, and Shuster, 39, served as flag bearers for the team during the Parade of Nations at Beijing's National Stadium, also known as the "Bird's Nest." There, the athletes walked to a selection of international classical music.

During the Opening Ceremony, Shuster and Bowe spoke with NBC News about getting to lead Team USA and what the honor meant to them. "Leading this amazing group of athletes, this is so cool," said Shuster.

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Added Bowe: "This is an absolute honor of a lifetime. I can't think of a more powerful and uniting moment as an athlete and as an American. And it's an absolute honor to lead Team USA into the Opening Ceremony."

The NBC broadcast also showed glimpses of Shuster and Bowe's families cheering them on stateside, with Shuster's family in Superior, Wisconsin, and Bowe's in Ocala, Florida.

Brittany Bowe and John Shuster of Team United States carry their flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Bowe was selected to replace elected flag bearer Elana Meyers Taylor, a 37-year-old bobsledder who has won medals in the past three Winter Olympics, in the ceremony after Taylor tested positive for COVID-19.

Shuster made history as the first curler to carry the U.S. flag during the Opening Ceremony, according to USA Curling.

"Being elected as one of the flag bearers is a tremendous honor," Shuster said in a press release about his selection. "When thinking back to my Opening Ceremony experiences, I cannot help but be so proud to lead Team USA into an Olympic Winter Games. Joining the incredible group of Team USA leaders, especially since it was chosen by my Team USA teammates, is one of the greatest honors of my sporting career."

Members of Team United States pose for a photograph during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
David Ramos/Getty Images

In all, the U.S. Olympic team has a delegation of 223 athletes.

An inspirational film called "I Dare You," narrated by actor and former WWE superstar Dwayne Johnson, aired at the start of NBC's coverage of the ceremony.

"It's my honor to once again be asked to participate in the presentation of the Opening Ceremony. And on behalf of our country, I will proudly introduce our U.S. Olympians to the world as they take that first step of defining their legacy," Johnson said in a statement prior to the event.

Johnson previously introduced Team USA during NBC's coverage of the Tokyo Olympics last summer and previewed the athletes to watch in the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

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At the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Olympic luger Erin Hamlin was picked to lead Team USA during the Parade of Nations.

Beijing also hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, where 15,000 performers filled the stadium floor during that year's Opening Ceremony.

Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who directed the 2008 Opening Ceremony, told the Washington Post that the 2022 event would feature only 3,000 performers.

"In 2008, the Olympics was a brilliant stage and chance for our country to show ourselves," Yimou said. "It's different now. China's status in the world, the image of the Chinese, and the rise of our national status, everything is totally different now."

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, beginning Feb 3, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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