Page to bear flag
MALCOLM Page will celebrate his sailing gold medal by carrying the flag for Australia at the closing ceremony of the Olympics.
Australia's Chef de Mission, Nick Green, announced the decision on day 15. Page and Mat Belcher won the gold in the 470 class at Weymouth, making it back-to-back gold for Page.
In explaining his choice, Green said Page was "a great leader and a great role model".
"Mal has been a long-serving athlete of Olympic sport," Green said. "I used the values of Olympism as a means of making a choice, and Mal is a great example of a great Australian who has done great things in his sport.
"It was a very tough choice, with a number of contenders like Anna Meares and Alicia Coutts, but Mal's sport continues to deliver and this decision recognises sailing's great contribution to the games.
"I'm sure the announcement will be very well received by the Australian public."
Green said that when he told Page, 40, that he would be carrying the flag, the champion sailor was "absolutely delighted".
"He said to me: 'What a great honour. Thank you for this opportunity'," Green said. "He is now not only a dual gold medallist, but the flagbearer as well."
Page, who won the 470 event with Nathan Wilmot as his partner in Beijing, said he was overwhelmed when Green told him the news.
"I was quite numb when I spoke to Nick," he said. "I have had so many great moments in sport, especially the last couple of days, but this is something that is really quite overwhelming.
"When you consider some of the great performances across the team here in London, not just by the sailors but by people like Sally (Pearson) and Anna, this is something I will really treasure.
"It's great recognition of the sailing team as well. Being in Weymouth it's been a little hard to share the experience of being part of the entire team, but this more than makes up for that."