Tokyo Olympics: Flagbearers to send messages of equality and justice at opening ceremony | Tokyo Olympics News
The International Olympic Committee changed its rules and asked each nation to select two flag bearers in an effort to increase gender equality at the Tokyo Games.
Gold medal rower Mohamed sbihi will be the first Muslim to carry the British flag at the Games, along with the sailor Hannah mills.
“It is a great honor to be invited to be the flag bearer for Team GB,” said Sbihi. “It is an iconic moment within the Olympic movement, people remember those images.”
Australians Cate Campbell and Patty Mills attend their fourth Olympics. Mills, a basketball player who plays for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, will be the first indigenous Australian selected to carry the flag for the Opening Ceremony.
“It’s identity, it’s being able to show who you are around the world,” Mills said. “It’s one of those things that makes you proud of who you are. We’ve definitely come a long way for Australian sport and it’s special.”
Team USA will be represented by 40-year-old basketball player Sue Bird and Cuban-American base player Eddy Alvarez. Álvarez, who also won a silver medal for speed skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics, has expressed his support for Cubans who have joined the recent protests over the country’s economic crisis.
“We feel for the people of Cuba at this time. We are very proud of them because they are coming out to protest with rocks, forks and brooms,” he said.
For the Netherlands, it will be 36-year-old Dutch sprinter and black athlete Churandy Martina from Curaçao and skater Keet Oldenbeuving, 16. They are the oldest and youngest members of the Dutch Olympic team.
In Belgium’s case, the two will also represent the country’s linguistic division: heptathlete Nafi Thiam, a French speaker, and hockey player Felix Denayer, a Dutch speaker.
“That honor!” She posted black sprinter Mujinga Kambundji with a Swiss flag emoji on Instagram after being selected alongside Max Heinzer.
“When I started athletics as a kid, going to the Olympics never sounded really realistic. Today, I’m preparing for my third Olympics, and this honor makes the experience even more special.”