History is being made today at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. Simon Whitfield will become the first triathlete to act as flagbearer for any nation at the Olympics.
It’s fair to say that the Olympic spirit is part of the Whitfield’s DNA. This is the fourth time he’s on the big stage. He has two medals. And he’s a favourite once again.
Now Whitfield has been entrusted with more than just trying to win another medal for himself, Canada, his family and the triathlon community. He’s being asked to display the collective pride of a country, and all of the athletes who are the vessels of its aspirations.
Ever since he was announced as the flag bearer, Whitfield has worked to bring attention to other athletes. He’s approached the role as if he were a metaphorical reflector, shining the light on other Olympians instead of basking solo in the spotlight.
He’s leading the attention of a nation to the treasures that comprise Team Canada. He says he’s excited about watching Clara Hughes ride the Olympic road race. He also hopes his friend Gillian Carleton does well in track cycling. And, oh, he’s also going to see kayaker Adam van Koeverden compete after he’s finished his own race. For Whitfield, the flag is simply a big canopy of pride that he wants to drape over every athlete who has worked so hard to get to London.
Speaking during an interview on CTV Whitfield said: “there’s so many Canadians that are really true stand-outs.” Sometimes, it takes an upstanding guy to point that out. Today, that guy is a triathlete. And he’s certainly making us look good. Enjoy the games Canada.