OTTAWA – Veteran women’s hockey player, Hayley Wickenheiser (Shaunavon, Sask.) will be the Canadian Olympic Team flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The Canadian Olympic Committee made the announcement today at an intimate event involving six members of Wickenheiser’s family, government and Canadian Olympic officials at Parliament Hill. Wickenheiser, who is currently in Vienna, Austria, training with Canada’s National Women’s Team, joined the announcement via satellite.
In Wickenheiser’s remarks, she was quick to emphasize that the true honour of being named flag bearer lies in representing the entire Canadian Olympic Team.
“This is an incredible honour and one that means so much to me after having represented Canada in hockey for so many years,” said Wickenheiser. “Today, I have been chosen as Canada’s flag bearer, but today is about carrying the hopes and dreams of nearly 35 million Canadians to Sochi. I can’t wait to lead an amazing group of athletes who have dedicated their lives to achieving their Olympic dreams for both themselves and Canada.”
“Hayley personifies what every Olympian endeavours to be, both as an athlete and a person,” said Steve Podborski, chef de mission for the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team. “She has represented Canada in five Olympic Games and she is a fierce and fair competitor, gracious in victory or defeat. Our athletes are proud to have her as Canada’s flag bearer.”
Wickenheiser has been instrumental in leading the Canada’s National Women’s Team to success and in doing so, is a four-time Olympic medallist, three of which were gold (Salt Lake City 2002; Turin 2006; and Vancouver 2010). She is part of an elite group of international athletes who has competed at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. In all, Canada’s newest flag bearer has won eight IIHF world championships and has been part of Canada’s National Women’s Team since 1994, when she first joined the squad at the age of 15.
“Hayley is one of our country’s greatest ambassadors,” said Marcel Aubut, president, Canadian Olympic Committee. “Hayley is loved by her teammates, respected by her opponents and cherished by all Canadians. For 20 years, Hayley has been the cornerstone of Canadian women’s hockey and an integral part of the sport’s growth around the world. This is a well-deserved honour.”
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from Feb. 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal to contend to be the top nation in overall medals won.