PASADENA, CA (AP) - Zamperini has been named grand marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade.
The Tournament of Roses announced the selection Friday in ceremonies leading up to the 126th edition of the floral spectacle, which annually draws thousands to Pasadena, California.
Zamperini's story is the subject of Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling book "Unbroken," which is being made into a movie directed by Angelina Jolie.
Zamperini was a University of Southern California track star who ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
In World War II, he survived 47 days afloat in the Pacific Ocean after the crash of a bomber he was aboard and then spent two years as a prisoner of the Japanese.
The theme of the New Year's Day parade is "Inspiring Stories."