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Why Salt Lake’s Brittany Bowe was Team USA’s flag bearer at Olympics opening ceremony

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Brittany Bowe and John Shuster carry the USA flag

Brittany Bowe and John Shuster, of the United States, leads their team in during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

Salt Lake resident and Olympic speedskater Brittany Bowe led the way for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing on Friday.

Bowe, along with curler John Shuster, carried the United States flag at the Bird’s Nest stadium as the Olympic flame was lit, signifying the official start of the Games.

Bowe was chosen to be Team USA’s flag bearer after bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, who was originally voted a flag bearer, tested positive for COVID-19.

Bowe originally was the runner-up to be one of two flag bearers for the USA, voted on by fellow athletes.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead Team USA into the Opening Ceremony,” Bowe said in a press release. “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.”

Bowe made headlines before the Games after she gave up her spot in the 500-meter race to teammate and West Jordan resident Erin Jackson after Jackson — ranked No. 1 in the 500-meter in the current World Cup standings — slipped and failed to qualify for the Olympics in the event at the USA speedskating Olympic trials.

Fate smiled on Bowe after her generous act, as she will also get to compete in the 500-meter race after countries returned quota spots in the event.

Bowe will also compete in the 1000-meter and 1500-meter races at the Olympics.