Australia

Patty Mills named Australia’s first Indigenous flag bearer for Tokyo Olympics, alongside Cate Campbell

Swimmer Cate Campbell and basketballer Patty Mills will be Australia’s flagbearers at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

Mills will become Australia’s first Indigenous athlete to carry the flag at an Olympic opening ceremony.

“It’s incredible, a very passionate moment I can feel in my bones,” Mills said.

“As the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flagbearer, my connection between our country … and this particular moment runs extremely deep.”

Campbell is the first female swimmer to be given the honour.

“Twelve months ago, I wasn’t even sure if there would be an Olympics,” she said.

“The postponement threw up so many challenges for everyone.

“Leading the Australian team out for these Olympics carries extra significance. Every one of us … have had to dig deep to earn a spot on this team and I am incredibly honoured to be leading us out.”

The opening ceremony for the Games, which were postponed a year because of the global coronavirus pandemic, will be held on 23 July.

For the first time, the International Olympic Committee has decreed that a male and female carry the flag of each nation at the ceremony.

But Australia has had dual flagbearers before, in Moscow in 1980, when Denise Boyd and Max Metzker led the team out under the Olympic flag at those Games which were boycotted by many nations.

Australia’s Olympic chef de mission Ian Chesterman made the decision to honour Campbell and Mills.

“Each is a gifted athlete and critically, a natural leader who has the respect of athletes within their chosen sports and beyond,” Mr Chesterman said.

“Equally, they are passionately committed to representing their country and carrying the responsibility that goes with that.

“Both have their own journeys and stories, but that pride in the green and gold shines through so strongly.”

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