Sultana Frizell didn’t get a chance to march in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
But she’ll be front and centre when the event wraps up tonight.
The hammer thrower was named Canada’s flagbearer for the closing ceremony after defending her gold medal from four years ago in impressive fashion.
Frizell — who set a new Commonwealth record in the event on three separate occasions in Glasgow — did not participate in opening ceremony on July 23 because she was still training at a camp in Portugal.
The 29-year-old from Perth, Ont., said she was both surprised and honoured to be asked to carry the Maple Leaf into Hampden Park.
“Last night everyone took me into a back room and they were like ’Sultana, we’ve got something to tell you.’ And I was like ‘Is somebody dead?“’ the bubbly Frizell joked. “It was never really in my head. I see the people carrying the flag and I’m like ‘Hey that’s really cool and it would be really nice to do it someday.’
“It’s definitely a nice cherry on top.”
Frizell, who trains in Kamloops, B.C., said carrying the flag will also be special for her parents.
“It’s going to be really nice for my family back home to see because they’re not able to travel anymore,” she said. “My mom and my dad are quite ill. This will be nice for them to see me on TV. It’s going to be great.”
Frizell was just one of a number of Canada’s 265 athletes in the running for flagbearer on a team that was cemented in third place in the overall medal standings behind England and Australia heading into the final day of competition.
“Not only was it an impressive performance, Sultana also displayed exceptional character on and off the field,” said Canadian chef de mission Chantal Petitclerc in a release. “Her great attitude and leadership certainly contributed to the success of the entire athletics team here in Glasgow.”
Frizell threw 71.69 metres to claim gold in the hammer throw, but was disappointed she didn’t come closer to the Canadian record of 75.73 she threw earlier this season.
She currently sits fourth in the world and will now turn her attention to next summer’s Pan American Games on home soil in Toronto, and then the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“I’m close, and anything can really happen on the day,” said Frizell. “We’re just trying to figure out how to get to that next level because (the throws) need to be at 77 metres. I need to be there. That’s what’s winning medals. We’re trying to figure out how to prep in training to close that gap, so I’m very close.”