Double Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield 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 triathlon’s Olympic debut 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. His stellar career spans three Olympic Games and includes 12 ITU World Cup titles (tied for second most all-time), as well as a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games.
“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.
Whitfield will become the first triathlete from any nation to be flag bearer at an Olympic Games opening ceremony, although Abrahm Louw was the flag bearer for Namibia at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010.
Whitfield is one of just three triathletes to have qualified for four Olympic Games.
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.
Photo and files from Canadian Olympic Committee
Double Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield will head to his 4th Olympic Games as Triathlon Canada unveiled the five athletes who will represent Canada in London. Paula Findlay and Kyle Jones will make their Olympic debuts
Simon Whitfield welcomed the Olympic Flame in his native Canada to start the Torch Relay