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Erin Hamlin has led Team USA out for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after being named as flag carrier ahead of Shani Davis, who boycotted the ceremony.
Hamlin, a four-time Olympian and winner of a luge bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi games, beamed a broad smile as she led out the athletes competing at the games in South Korea to the accompaniment of 'Gangnam Style'.
The 31-year-old was chosen in a coin toss with speedskater Shani Davis, one of just a few black athletes in Team USA, who says he should have been chosen to carry the Stars and Stripes.
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Erin Hamlin carries the flag of the United States during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
With 'Gangnam Style' blaring out across the stadium, the luger beamed a huge smile as she waved the Stars and Stripes
American competitors - minus Shani Davis - parading at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony
Hamlin is a four-time Olympian and winner of a luge bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi games
Davis, 35, a five-time Olympian who has won two gold medals and two silver medals, lost after a vote among sports federations represented at the games ended in a tie.
A U.S. speed skating spokesman said Davis had not originally planned to march in the parade of nations later on Friday, but would have made an exception if he had been chosen as flag-bearer.
'Shani won't march in the parade. It was never part of his plans. He is fully focused on his first race and is concentrating on that,' the spokesman said.
In an angry tweet, Davis, took a shot at Hamlin, the holder of a single bronze medal.
Hamlin said it is a 'big privilege to represent Team USA' at the games has already announced this will be her last Olympics as she is retiring immediately after
Hamlin is the first American to medal in luge singles and a winner of 23 World Cup medal
'I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event,' Davis wrote on Twitter.
He then slammed Team USA for 'dishonorably' tossing a coin to decide who would have the honor of carrying the flag.
'No problem. I can wait until 2022,' he added before using the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth2018.'
Hamlin, the first American to medal in luge singles and a winner of 23 World Cup medal, has already announced this will be her last Olympics as she is retiring immediately after these games.
In a statement she said she was 'honored and excited' to be named flag-bearer adding 'this is something totally different'.
'It's something that is because of that hard work. People acknowledge that and respect that. It's a big privilege to represent Team USA.'
United States' athletes Erin Hamlin, left, and Shani Davis. Davis blasted the selection of luge athlete Hamlin as the U.S. flagbearer for the opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Games
The American team has 11 Asian American athletes and 10 black athletes members, a ratio that is far lower than the number of minority athletes the team sends to the Summer Games.
Over the past six years the U.S. Olympic Committee has made concerted efforts to promote diversity among its team members.
In 2012, a committee was formed to improve diversity and Jason Thompson was hired as director of diversity and inclusion.
Hamlin did not address the controversy but told USA Today: 'Winning a medal is the effort you put in and the time and the work and sacrifice to succeed and achieve something. That's all on me. That's something I've done.
'I think they're going to be really glad that they made that decision.
'They're really pumped. I'm sure my brothers will be. We've grown up watching the Olympics and we're always like, 'Who's going to be carrying the flag?' And to actually be that person is insane.'
Hamlin's teammates were thrilled by the news, both because of what it will mean for her and what it means for the niche sport of luge.
'I was so happy for her,' U.S. doubles Olympian Jayson Terdiman said.
'It's one of the coolest things. I tell you what, I can't wait. I couldn't wait before, but now I can't wait even more. Not just does Erin get to hold that flag, but USA Luge gets to hold that flag. It's so cool. It's a great honor for our small sport.'
Kim Yo Jong had taken her seat just feet away from the Vice President, behind his wife Karen Pence, after shaking the hand of South Korean President Moon Jae-in as they entered the stadium for the event.
Kim Jong Un's younger sister is part of a high-level diplomatic delegation led by the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, and she is the first member of Pyongyang's ruling dynasty to set foot in the country since the Korean War.
Diplomatic progress? Kim Jong-Un's sister Kim Yo-Jong, second from top right, is seen sitting just feet away from Vice President Mike Pence, second from bottom right, and his wife Karen during the opening ceremony
Kim Yong Nam was earlier seen meeting with President Moon, the two leaders shaking hands ahead of the opening ceremony. He had also reportedly met with Mr Pence on Thursday night when the Vice President stopped by a formal dinner which he ended up not joining.
Vice President Pence, Mr Kim and President Moon had reportedly been due to share a table at the dinner, but Mr Pence he arrived late, 'exchanged greetings with those seated at the head table, and left without sitting down', a spokesperson for the South Korean president's office said.
This despite the fact that a top North Korea Foreign Ministry official had ruled out meeting with any representatives from the United States.
President Moon has pushed the Games as a 'peace Olympics' that will open a door for dialogue to alleviate tensions on the peninsula and seek to persuade Pyongyang to give up its atomic ambitions.
There is reportedly a 'good chance' that Ms Kim will invite President Moon to Pyongyang during a lunch on Saturday, CNN reports.
Peace Olympics': Kim Yo-Jong was seated next to North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, behind President Moon and his wife, and Mr and Mrs Pence
Making friends: Ms Kim is seen shaking hands with President Moon Jae-in ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
Sources told CNN that the potential visit would be 'sometime this year', and if it goes ahead it would be the first visit from a South Korean president in 11 years.
The last member of the Kim family to set foot in Seoul was Yo Jong's grandfather Kim Il Sung, the North's founder, after his forces invaded in 1950 and the capital fell.
Three years later the conflict ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula divided by the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, and the two sides technically in a state of war.