Triathlete Simon Whitfield, cyclist Catharine Pendrel and veteran show jumper Ian Millar are among the favourites to carry Canada’s flag in the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics.
Canada’s flag-bearer will be introduced Thursday morning on the front lawn of Parliament Hill.
Victoria’s Whitfield captured gold for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Games where triathlon made its debut, then followed it up with a silver at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Pendrel, from Harvey, N.B., is the reigning women’s mountain bike world champion.
The 65-year-old Millar, from Perth, Ont., will set a world record when he competes in his 10th Olympic Games. Millar anchored Canada to gold in the team event, beating the U.S. in a jump-off.
Other favourites have included cyclist Clara Hughes, trampolinist Karen Cockburn, Canada’s women’s soccer captain Christine Sinclair, tennis player Daniel Nestor, and diver Alexandre Despatie.
Despatie, however, told reporters recently that he would decline any offer to carry the flag.
“It’s a great distraction, although it is the greatest honour an athlete can receive,” the two-time Olympic silver medallist said.
Sinclair carried Canada’s flag at the opening ceremonies for the Pan American Games last year in Mexico. The Canadian soccer team is unlikely to march in the ceremonies, however, as they play their second game of the tournament, versus South Africa, the following afternoon.
Nestor and doubles partner Sebastien Lareau won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while Cockburn is a three-time Olympic medallist.
Kayaker Adam van Koeverden carried Canada’s flag in the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while speedskater Clara Hughes was the flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Hughes has made a return to cycling, and will be on the Canadian squad in London.
The opening ceremonies are July 27.
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