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Flag bearer set to inspire team

Flag bearer set to inspire team

July 27, 2012

An athlete whose achievements have struck at the core at what it means to be Kiwi has been named flag bearer for the New Zealand Olympic Team to London.

Nick Willis, who powered home in a spine-tingling finish to the 1500m in Beijing in 2008 and went on to win an Olympic silver medal, was presented with the New Zealand Olympic Team’s cloak this afternoon in a ceremony in the Olympic Village in London.

He then went on to be honoured at a black tie gala dinner hosted by the Governor General of New Zealand, Lieutenant General, the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Chef de Mission Dave Currie said Willis was chosen for the honour as his achievements reflect the best in New Zealand’s sporting traditions.

“The role of flag bearer is to both lead and inspire the Olympic Team,” he said. “Nick’s results speak for themselves and his silver medal run in Beijing was a great moment in New Zealand sporting history. His drive and focus are complimented by quiet modesty, humour and generosity.

“The 1500m is a classic race that Kiwis still consider their own and his success in this race made New Zealanders proud.”

Currie also cited Willis’ generosity to his home country noting the 2011 track meet which he organised to raise money for the people of Christchurch.

“Like Sir Murray Halberg, Sir Peter Snell, Sir John Walker before him, Willis is a part of the best of New Zealand’s great sporting traditions and most worthy of the role of team flag bearer.”

Willis was honoured to be named flag bearer this evening.

“What an amazing honour it is to be named as flag bearer for New Zealand,” he said. “My heroes Peter Snell and John Walker each carried the flag, so to walk where they, and many other New Zealand legends have, is more than I could have ever dreamed of.

“I will use this opportunity to offer support to my fellow 2012 Kiwi Olympians, and hopefully inspire them through my own performances at the Games.”

The flag bearer is chosen by the Chef de Mission in conjunction with members of the Athlete Support Team. The selection of the flag bearer takes into account a combination of past success as an Olympic athlete as well as an ability to lead, inspire and support the athletes within the team.


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