Mills, Campbell Australia's flagbearers

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Basketballer Patty Mills says he's overwhelmed to be Australia's first Indigenous flagbearer at an Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Mills and four-time Olympic swimmer Cate Campbell will carry the nation's flag at the July 23 ceremony to open the Tokyo Games.

Mills says it's difficult to digest the enormity of the honour.

"It's obviously an absolute honour and a privilege and it's so iconic that it's going to be hard for me to wrap my head around this moment," Mills told reporters.

"It's about identity, it's about being proud of who you are and really showing that and being passionate about that."

Mills said there had been no discussions about also carrying the Aboriginal flag at the ceremony, but he would take one to Tokyo.

"It's one of those things that I am always going to carry those flags wherever I may be ... being able to be a proud representative of our culture, our Australian culture, it's always going to be there," he said.

Campbell is the first female swimmer to carry the flag at an Olympic opening ceremony.

"Honour and privilege have been thrown around a lot ... I wish that the English language had a few other words that could fully express just the real sentiment and emotions that I am feeling right now," she told reporters.

"It has absolutely blown me away ... honour and privilege will have to do in lieu of something else."

For the first time, the International Olympic Committee has decreed that a male and female carry the flag of each nation at the ceremony.

But Australia has had dual flagbearers before, in Moscow in 1980, when Denise Boyd and Max Metzker led the team out under the Olympic flag at those Games which were boycotted by many nations.

Australia's Olympic chef de mission Ian Chesterman chose Mills and Campbell as flagbearers.

"Each is a gifted athlete and critically, a natural leader who has the respect of athletes within their chosen sports and beyond," Chesterman said.

"Equally, they are passionately committed to representing their country and carrying the responsibility that goes with that.

"Both have their own journeys and stories, but that pride in the green and gold shines through so strongly."

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