, Tokyo Olympics 2020 live: Team GB flagbearers for opening ceremony revealed – latest updates, The Nzuchi Times

Tokyo Olympics 2020 live: Team GB flagbearers for opening ceremony revealed – latest updates

Hannah Mills and Mohamed Sbihi, Olympic gold-medal winners in sailing and rowing, have been selected as the Team GB flagbearers for Friday’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

In a break from tradition, the International Olympic Committee is allowing federations to nominate one female and one male athlete for the honour and, ahead of defending their Rio Olympic titles, Mills and Sbihi have been selected.

The decision was made by a panel headed by Team GB chef de mission Mark England and they will follow Sir Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy, the respective flag bearers in Rio and London, as well as Anita Lonsborough, who was the first female to carry the flag for Team GB in Tokyo in 1964. Team GB said that Mills and Sbihi exemplified their four core values of pride, responsibility, respect and unity. 

Mills, who will be defending her women’s 470 title alongside Eilidh McIntyre in Tokyo, will become the first female sailor to carry the British flag whilst Sbihi, a gold medallist in the men’s four five years ago, is the fourth rower to be given the privilege to march at the head of what will be a dramatically reduced delegation.

By Jeremy Wilson

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7:18AM

Tomorrow’s opening ceremony will be like no other

By Tom Morgan in Tokyo

With just 30 Team GB athletes attending tomorrow’s opening ceremony amid Covid-19 anxiety, the Olympics begin but the party remains some way off.

Traditional scenes of post-competition carousing are also firmly off-limits in the coming weeks, with bars and restaurants banned for all-but-every arrival in the normally-buzzing city of Tokyo.

However, for the 300 British competitors holed up in their rooms even for tomorrow’s firework extravaganza, there is now an all-expenses-paid knees-up to look forward to.

Barring any outbreaks of Covid, the champagne will eventually be uncorked back on home soil on August 15, with an official “Homecoming” funded by the National Lottery at Wembley Arena.

The 376 athletes, and a further 22 reserve athletes, will be put up in a London hotel with their partners for a specially-arranged pop concert, with acts including Anne-Marie, Bastille, Griff, Laura Mvula and Rag’n’Bone Man.

A source close to the plan said the unique pressures of this year’s Olympics had played a major part in Team GB’s decision to help create a long-overdue moment for the competitors to let some steam off. As well as all the absentees from the opening ceremony as competitors are concerned about the risk of contracting Covid, there will be an equally small showing at the closing ceremony because all athletes must leave the country within 48 hours of finishing their event.

7:05AM

More from Jeremy Wilson on the flagbearer selection

Mark England has always said that breaking the flagbearer news to those selected is one of the highlights of his job. “Having spoken personally with Hannah and Moe, it was clear to see what this honour meant to them,” he said.

“Hannah and Moe have already created multiple Olympic memories and I have no doubt they will add to these in Tokyo over the next 16 days.”

, Tokyo Olympics 2020 live: Team GB flagbearers for opening ceremony revealed – latest updates, The Nzuchi Times

Hannah Mills with Eilidh McIntyre in the Women’s 470 Class practice race in Tokyo

Credit:
GETTY IMAGES

England also urged the British public to embrace the Tokyo Games following “the most difficult and unprecedented 18 months”  in the nation’s recent history. “My message is Team GB has almost 800 athletes and support staff in country, athletes are fit, well and healthy, they’re transitioning from a fantastic preparation camp into the Olympic environment,” he said. 

, Tokyo Olympics 2020 live: Team GB flagbearers for opening ceremony revealed – latest updates, The Nzuchi Times

“We’re a couple of days away from the opening ceremony and not one of those athletes, not one of the support staff, not one of the personnel engaging with Team GB have tested positive. 

“So there should be huge confidence in our Covid mitigation measures, the testing regime that we adhere to not only to support our Team GB but also the Japanese people and volunteers. 

“We want everyone back home to buckle up. It won’t be an easy ride but it will be exciting and there will be some memories that I’m sure will live long.

‘Many people back home have lost their lives, many people have had their livelihoods changed. We are maturely representing the hopes and the aspirations of millions and millions of people back home. I don’t know what the medal outcome is going to be, but what I would say is that this is a top, top team that we’re looking at.” 

6:49AM

Team GB’s flagbearers for the opening ceremony have been announced

By Jeremy Wilson

Hannah Mills and Mohamed Sbihi, Olympic gold-medal winners in sailing and rowing, have been selected as the Team GB flagbearers for Friday’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

In a break from tradition, the International Olympic Committee is allowing federations to nominate one female and one male athlete for the honour and, ahead of defending their Rio Olympic titles, Mills and Sbihi have been selected.

The decision was made by a panel headed by Team GB chef de mission Mark England and they will follow Sir Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy, the respective flag bearers in Rio and London, as well as Anita Lonsborough, who was the first female to carry the flag for Team GB in Tokyo in 1964. Team GB said that Mills and Sbihi exemplified their four core values of pride, responsibility, respect and unity. 

Mills, who will be defending her women’s 470 title alongside Eilidh McIntyre in Tokyo, will become the first female sailor to carry the British flag whilst Sbihi, a gold medallist in the men’s four five years ago, is the fourth rower to be given the privilege to march at the head of what will be a dramatically reduced delegation.

With athletes terrified of catching Covid-19 or being identified as close contacts, as well as the staggered entry into Tokyo and the Olympic Village, only around 30 of the 376 strong team are expected to attend the opening ceremony.

“To be asked to carry the flag for Team GB at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is not a sentence I ever thought I’d say,” said Mills, who also won silver at London. “When Mark (England) told me I had been chosen, it was completely overwhelming and when I had a moment to think about what it meant I got pretty emotional.

“It is the greatest honour in my career and I hope more than ever before that this Games can lift our country and deliver some incredible sporting moments to inspire the nation.”

Sbihi, who along with the rowing team is staying in the Olympic Village for the first time since Sydney 2000, spoke of her memories of seeing fellow rowers, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent, carry the flag. 

“It is an iconic moment within the Olympic movement  – people remember those images,” said Sbihi, who also won bronze at London 2012. “It is going to be a surreal experience actually going to an opening ceremony but this year with the racing schedule it is actually manageable even if I wasn’t a flagbearer. It will be really special and will complete my Olympic puzzle. It will be a lifetime memory that I will never forget.”

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