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Triathlete Simon Whitfield waves the Canadian flag after being named Canada's flag bearer for the opening ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa July 12, 2012. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Triathlete Simon Whitfield waves the Canadian flag after being named Canada's flag bearer for the opening ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa July 12, 2012. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

London 2012

Olympians connect on Twitter with fans and competitors alike Add to ...

Simon Whitfield knew what to do after being named Canada’s flag-bearer for the 2012 London Olympics.

The Olympic champion triathlete tweeted to his nearly 16,000 followers on Thursday, thanking them for their support.

“Absolutely honoured 2b flag bearer representing a team Canadians across the country can be proud of, what ever you do,” said Whitfield ((at)simonwhitfield), adding the hash tag “#giveyoureverything.”

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Whitfield also exchanged messages with several other athletes on Twitter after the flag-bearer announcement. Canadian athletes are particularly active on the social networking website, creating an online community where they can interact with each other and fans in the lead up to the London Games.

Each athlete uses their account differently, but they all use it to provide their followers with a glimpse into their lives.

In addition to Whitfield, here are a few other active tweeters worth following:

Karina Leblanc ((at)karinaleblanc) — The goalie on Canada’s women’s soccer team offers commentary on the play of other ‘keepers during soccer’s major tournaments, explaining to her followers why they made particular decisions in net. She was particularly active during the European Cup in June, explaining the goalkeeping strategies of some of the best men’s players.

Mark Oldershaw ((at)MarkOldershaw) — A member of Canada’s paddling team, Oldershaw discusses his activities on and off the water, posting photos and blog entries from training but also tweeting about reading comics on his iPad, watching movies like “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and rapper 50 Cent’s decision to wear an Edmonton Oilers hat in a music video.

Alexandre Despatie ((at)ADespatie) — The star diver tweets in both English and French and recently provided updates to his followers after suffering a head injury during training. He was also especially inspired by Roger Federer’s championship performance at Wimbledon.

Paddler Adam van Koeverden ((at)vankayak) — The Olympic kayaking champion isn’t shy about weighing in on non-sports related issues like politics and the environment. He’s also often engaged in chatter with fellow athletes like Whitfield.

Mark Tewksbury ((at)marktewks) — He’s not a current athlete but as chef de mission of the Canadian team, the former swimming star will lead the delegation in London this summer. His Twitter feed is mostly dedicated to the team’s preparation for the Olympics.

Even then, the chef de mission has some time for humour on his Twitter account.

“That remarkably large Peace Tower Canadian flag was unwrapped way too close to the eternal flame for my liking today! Yikes,” said Tewksbury a few hours after Whitfield was introduced as the flag-bearer in front of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.

Whitfield himself tweets frequently, with over 7,000 messages posted online. The 37-year-old has recently commented on the Tour de France, retweeted news stories on triathlon races and exchanged pleasantries with athletes from a variety of sports, encouraging them to train hard for the London Olympics.

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