Former U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program physician Col. David Haight had no idea of the essential role he would play during the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games.

Haight, a physician currently serving as the chief of family medicine and primary care sports medicine director at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, was honored when he was asked to join Team USA’s march into Maracana Stadium on Aug. 5.

“Day in and day out, we are surrounded [in Rio] by past and future Olympians. It is an amazing experience,” Haight said. “But when I changed into the Ralph Lauren Opening Ceremonies outfit, and walked downstairs into the crowd of Olympians … I really felt like I was a part of something special.”

Haight is accustomed to being around world-class athletes, but he had never been among so many amateur and professional athletes all mingling together.

“We have athletes being treated in the medical treatment facility and watching other athletes on the TV,” he explained. “It’s really surreal to have athletes from different disciplines cheering for the other athletes and going on about their heroes.”

On their way to the stadium, Haight decided to introduce some of the stargazers to the stars.

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Image courtesy of US Army