Women's basketball star Dawn Staley has been selected to carry the U.S. flag at the Athens Olympics opening ceremonies Friday night.
The honor of carrying the United States flag in the opening ceremonies is voted on by team captains from the different sports.
Dawn Staley, 34, won Olympic basketball gold medals in 1996 and 2000.
"I am tremendously thrilled. I am emotional about it," she said. "It is something that you don't dream about. You really don't. It's a fairy tale that somehow ended up in my lap and I will do it proudly and honorably."
Staley plays professionally for the WNBA's Charlotte Sting and coaches the Temple University women's basketball team in Philadelphia. Those who elected her as flag bearer also considered her work with inner-city children in Philadelphia through a foundation she established eight years ago.
Staley, an African-American, says she is thrilled it's made the difference in many lives.
"Since I received my first gold medal, I wanted to somehow instill positivity [a positive outlook], instill a passion to some other little girl, little boy who looks like me, who people don't give a whole lot of opportunity to. I wanted them to feel what I was feeling," she said.
Staley says she has already twice experienced the wonderful feeling of marching in the Olympics opening ceremonies with more than 500 teammates. But to lead the U.S. delegation into the stadium here in Athens carrying the flag will be bigger than any basketball game she has every played.