Victoria’s Simon Whitfield will be Canada’s flag bearer for the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on Friday July 27 – the worldwide broadcast will commence at 9 pm local time in London. Whitfield is the first triathlete in any country to be flag bearer for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. He did carry the Canadian flag into the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games closing ceremony.
The announcement was made this morning on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and the following is the official statement from the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Veteran triathlete Simon Whitfield (Victoria, B.C.) will be the Canadian Olympic Team flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Canadian Olympic Committee made the announcement today in a pomp-filled event involving the iconic Ceremonial Guard at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. Whitfield, who was joined by his father, mother and sister, was quick to emphasize that the true honour of being named flag bearer lies in representing the entire Canadian Olympic Team.
“It was a huge thrill for me to receive the call from my Olympic hero, Mark Tewksbury, asking me to be Canada’s flag-bearer,” said Whitfield. “Once I got over the shock of how cool it was that Mark called, my thoughts turned to all of the incredibly talented Canadian athletes on this team. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to carry our flag while representing the sport of triathlon, but more importantly, it’s a privilege to be the one who will lead this amazing team of Canadian athletes who have dedicated their lives to achieving their Olympic dream and represent our nation on the world’s greatest sporting stage.”
Whitfield is a two-time Olympic medallist, winning gold in the first ever Olympic Triathlon event in Sydney in 2000 and earning silver in a thrilling finish four years ago in Beijing. He also carried the Maple Leaf into the Closing Ceremonies in Sydney. He won the prestigious 2009 World Cup in Des Moines, Idaho, a bronze medal at the 2009 World Team Championships, a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games. In all, Whitfield has 14 World Cup victories and 21 podium finishes, in addition to seven top-10 finishes at World Championships and 10 Canadian National Championships.
“Simon Whitfield is truly a fitting representative of this year’s team and how they see themselves which, in their own words, is Fierce. Proud. World-Class. Relentless. Unbreakable,” said 2012 Canadian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Mark Tewksbury.
“These past months have been such a wonderful opportunity to meet and speak to so many of our outstanding Canadian athletes,” said Sylvie Bernier, Assistant Chef de Mission for the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team. “It’s also been so wonderful to see Canadians come to know more and more of those who will represent them in London.”
“Simon is a true inspiration for the entire country. We are proud of what he has accomplished and what he represents. Simon embodies true Canadian values such as leadership, dedication and hard work,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut. “Thank you Simon for accepting the responsibility on behalf of the entire Canadian Olympic Team.”
In all, the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team will consist of 277 athletes representing 10 provinces and territories, competing in 26 sport disciplines. The Team is supported by 93 coaches and a mission team of 137 staff and volunteers.
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