Canada’s flag-bearer at the 2012 Olympics will be named today on Parliament Hill and triathlete Simon Whitfield is the favorite to be given the honor. Al Dannity takes us through the contenders.
Two-time Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield is the front-runner to be named as Canada’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 games. Whitfield took gold in triathlon when the event made its debut in Sydney back in 2000. He followed that up with a silver in Beijing in 2008. A 10-time national champion and true warrior in the sport, carrying the flag for Canada would be the perfect way for Victoria triathlete to cap off a remarkable career. Whitfield however is not the only worthy contender for this honor as several of Canada’s other top Olympians will be in contention ahead of the big announcement on Parliament Hill.
Olympic diving veteran Alexandre Despatie will be one of the contenders vying to take the flag-bearing honors. Having broken his foot just a couple of months ago, the Beijing silver medallist has recovered in time to make it to his third games. Comfortably Canada’s most successful male diver ever, Despatie is competing in two events in London.
Two cyclists figure to be in the mix ahead of today’s decision. Catharine Pendrel is a mountain biker with Olympic pedigree, having finished fourth in Beijing and is the reigning world champion. Clara Hughes meanwhile is entering her sixth Olympics and was the flag bearer at Vancouver 2010. A decorated dual-sport athlete, having won Olympic medals in cycling and speed skating, Hughes would be setting a precedent were she to become the first two-time flag-bearer for Canada.
If the veteran card is going to be a factor then Ian Millar might just have everyone beat. At 65, Millar will be competing in his 10th Olympics when he represents Canada in show jumping. Captain Canada finally won an Olympic medal when he was part of Canada’s silver-winning team in Beijing. In London he will break the record for most Olympic appearances, making him a serious contender to be flag bearer at these games.
Trampolinist Karen Cockburn however can’t be ruled out as her phenomenal individual record, that includes medals at three different Olympics and two world titles, will surely count in her favor. There will also be a strong push for Daniel Nestor to be given flag-bearing honors. With the Olympic Tennis tournament taking place at Wimbledon, Canada’s doubles giant and 2000 gold medallist is near the end of his career and this would be a perfect send-off.
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