Chuck Aoki and Melissa Stockwell pose for photos at a Team USA content shoot in November 2019 in West Hollywood, Calif.
TOKYO– Wheelchair rugby player Chuck Aoki, a two-time Paralympic medalist, and paratriathlete Melissa Stockwell, Paralympic bronze medalist, were selected as Team USA’s flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced today. The Opening Ceremony will be held Tuesday, August 24 at Tokyo Stadium.
Aoki and Stockwell were chosen by a vote of fellow Team USA athletes and are the first duo to share the honor of leading the delegation into the Opening Ceremony, which serves as the official start to the Games. Of the 242 athletes who were named to the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team, more than 115 athletes are set to attend Tuesday’s Opening Ceremony.
In March 2020 – and prior to the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games due to the COVID pandemic – the International Paralympic Committee amended its policy to allow national teams to appoint two flag bearers – one female and one male – in promotion of gender parity. The IPC also required that at least one male and one female athlete be included in each of the 162 national delegations that will compete in Tokyo.
Participating in his third Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Aoki helped lead Team USA to a silver medal at Rio 2016 and a bronze medal at London 2012. Aoki was elected as the Athletes’ Advisory Council Vice Chair and has served as an AAC representative since 2017.
A first lieutenant in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division, Stockwell won the bronze medal in the inaugural Paralympic triathlon event at Paralympic Games Rio 2016 alongside teammates Allysa Seely and Hailey Danz. Stockwell currently trains out of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Representing the tenacity and perseverance of #TeamUSA. @MStockwell01 will carry the 🇺🇸 with @Aoki5Chuck to lead #TeamUSA into the #OpeningCeremony.#TokyoParalympics x @usatriathlon pic.twitter.com/iVBL1Kqujx— Team USA (@TeamUSA) August 23, 2021
The Opening Ceremony will be shown on NBCSN live from 7-10 a.m. ET and will re-air again from 7-10 p.m. E.T.
NBCUniversal will showcase an unprecedented 1,200 hours of Paralympic programming of the Tokyo Games presented by Toyota including the network’s first-ever primetime broadcasts, more than 200 hours of TV coverage among NBC, NBCSN and the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, and more than 1,000 hours of live streaming across 19 sports on NBC’s digital platforms. The coverage showcases the network’s continued commitment for the Paralympic Movement, which has grown from 70 hours for Rio 2016 and 5.5 total hours for London 2012.
Follow Team USA in TokyoTeam USA fans can follow the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team at TeamUSA.org and across Team USA’s social channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. The U.S. Paralympic Team microsite will offer Team USA results from the Paralympic Games, as well as athlete biographies, sport previews, a history book, competition schedules, and facts and figures about the U.S. delegation.
Fans can continue to learn about the U.S. Paralympic team with Team USA’s “Show the World” campaign that launched in late June. It aims to drive awareness of the Paralympic Movement while showcasing the elite competitive abilities of Team USA Paralympic athletes.