Eve Muirhead and Dave Ryding have been chosen to carry the Team GB flag at the Olympic Winter Olympics 2022 Opening Ceremony today (Friday) in Bejing.
Technically, the Olympic Winter Olympics 2022 started on Wednesday with the mixed doubles in the curling underway but the true start of the Winter Olympics will begin with the Opening Ceremony today (Friday), directed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Zhang Yimou.
BBC One begin their coverage at 11.30am.
Both Muirhead and Ryding are pioneers in their field and the face of British curling and skiing respectively, the second athletes in their sports to be given the flag bearing honour.
Muirhead follows in the footsteps of Rhona Martin, who led out the British delegation at the opening ceremony in 2002 and closing ceremony in 2006, the first curler to do so.
“To be asked to be one of the flagbearers is a dream come true,” she said. “It’s something I never dreamt I’d do, and I never dreamt I’d be back at a fourth Olympics.
“It’s been a rollercoaster to get here, a lot of challenges and a lot of highs. I feel very honoured, very privileged, it’s something I’m looking forward to and will never forget.
“Rhona led out the team when she won her gold and to follow on from that and be another curler and a Scot to do that is very special.”
Martin’s gold medal at Salt Lake City 2002 was Britain’s last in the ‘roaring game’ – they have won two since, including Muirhead’s silver in Sochi.
The 31-year-old skip believes the time is now for more history on the hog line, backing Britain’s current crop to bring back no fewer than three medals from Beijing.
“There’s nothing stopping us coming away with three medals,” said Muirhead.
“Bruce and his men are the best team in the world right now and they’re going to be in the fight with medals.
“Bruce and Jen have made a fantastic start, a dream start, in the doubles and as world champions they’re going in with form.
“My team are capable of beating every single team out there and we’ve done that this season. We’ll have tough matches but we’ve proven we can beat anyone.”
Ryding will be the second alpine skier to carry the flag after Jeremy Palmer-Tomkinson at Lake Placid 1980, who competed at that Games in luge but also formerly in giant slalom.
The Rocket arrives in Beijing having claimed a historic World Cup victory in Kitzbuhel last month and will hope to improve on ninth place at PyeongChang 2018, Britain’s best result in 30 years.
“I never dreamed of having a moment like this, it was a shock to be asked,” added Ryding, 35. “You never really expect it until you get the phone call.
“For skiing it’s a really proud day too and hopefully puts us back into the limelight because that’s what we need as a sport.”
Ryding has moved into the Olympic Village in Yanqing, 60 miles to the frozen north of Beijing. He will spend the next week fine-tuning his skills, with his event in just under two weeks.
Asked if he was worried about the plunging temperatures, it was minus 21 degrees on the piste on Thursday, he said:
“Not really but in those spandex lycra suits it can get a bit chilly.”
Source: Team GB
Photo copyrights: Team GB