Flag Sharers: Cate Campbell Chosen To Share Australian Olympic Flag Bearing Duties with Indigenous Basketballer Patty Mills

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TOKYO TOGETHER: Has been the catch cry for the Australian Olympic Team's road to this year's Olympics and it is now even more meaningful for joint flag bearers Cate Campbell and Patty Mills. Photos Courtesy Australian Olympic Committee.

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Cate Campbell, who has been very much the leading lady of Australia swimming over the past decade, will now become one of the leaders of the country’s Olympic team, named tonight to share the Flag Bearing duties at the 2020 Tokyo Games, with another four—time Olympian, inspiring indigenous basketball star Patty Mills.

The four-time Olympic swimmer received the news as she sat amongst the 35-strong swim team, gathered in their blazers inside their pre-Games training camp in Cairns – greeting the decision with tumultuous cheering.

The Australian Swimming team cheer the Cate Campbell announcement. Swimming team celebrations of the announcement of Cate Campbell as flagbearer for the Australian Olympic Team at Tokyo2020 Olympic Games. Cairns Australia, July 7 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit Mandatory for free usage. Thank you.

SHE’S OUR GIRl: Cate Campbell receives a tumultuous round of applause from her fellow Dolphins in Cairns. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

While Campbell was in the same Australian time zone when the news was announced by Team Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman and beamed live around the country on Olympic Network, Channel 7 – NBL star Mills was joined by his Boomers team mates at 2am in Los Angeles.

And waiting in the wings to present Campbell the Aussie flag was swimming’s Olympic icon, four-time gold medallist Dawn Fraser – who carried the flag in the closing ceremony the last time Tokyo hosted the Games in 1964.

While Bronte Campbell, who will join big sister Cate for a third Olympic campaign, was next in a long line of huggers on a very special occasion for one of Australian swimming’s greats.

MOS Opening Denise Boyd and Max Metzker Flag Carry (note Olympic flag) 3

FIRST JOINT AUSSIE FLAG BEARERS: Denise Robertson-Boyd and Max Metzker who carried the Olympic flag in the 1980 Moscow Games Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media Collection (Russ McPhedran).

Campbell, at 28, who like Mills, started her Olympic career in Beijing in 2008, is the first female swimmer and the third swimmer to carry the flag, joining Olympic gold medallist Andrew “Boy” Charlton in 1932 in Los Angeles and Max Metzker who along with track star Denise Robertson-Boyd, shared the duties in Moscow in 1980 – carrying not the Australian flag but the Olympic flag.

Mills, who has made his mark in the NBA with his long-standing professional career with the San Antonio Spurs, becomes the third basketballer, to carry the flag.

He joins Andrew Gaze who carried the flag in Sydney in 2000 and Lauren Jackson who carried the flag in London in 2012 – and Mills becomes the first indigenous Australian to receive the honour.

Campbell said she is humbled to be selected – a particular honour for these Games.

 “It’s always an honour to represent Australia at the Olympics, but this year is even more special,” said Campbell.

 “Twelve months ago, I wasn’t even sure if there would be an Olympics. The postponement threw up so many challenges for everyone. More than ever, the Olympics feels like a celebration of the human spirit; a reminder of what we can achieve if we work together.

 “Leading the Australian Team out for these Olympics carries extra significance – everyone of us, rookies and seasoned Olympians alike, have had to dig deep to earn a spot on this team; and I am incredibly honoured to be leading us out.”

Chesterman was full of praise for Mills and Campbell, saying: “Who better to share the task with Patty than Cate Campbell. Leadership springs not simply from what you say, but ultimately what you do. She is a champion in the pool and out of it.

“A committed contributor to the AOC Athletes’ Commission, Cate has personified those important qualities of resilience and determination. From the time we learned the Tokyo Games were postponed, Cate exuded such calm authority, determined to steer fellow athletes and the broader community through those troubled times.”

Swimmers are traditionally confined to the Village on Opening Ceremony occasions, because they are so often in action on day one.

But with the heats of the women’s 4x100m freestyle scheduled for the first evening, Campbell will be rested from the top heavy Australian team, the defending Olympic champions and world record holders – until the first finals session the next morning – the topsy turvey schedule playing right into her hands.

And Campbell, who could well become the earliest ever gold medal winning flag bearer, is greeted here by swimming icon Dawn Fraser in a moment these golden girls will cherish forever.

Cate Campbell and Dawn Fraser. Swimming team celebrations of the announcement of Cate Campbell as flagbearer for the Australian Olympic Team at Tokyo2020 Olympic Games. Cairns Australia, July 7 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit Mandatory for free usage. Thank you.

FLAGGED FOR SUCCESS: Cate Campbell receives the Australian flag from Dawn Fraser Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Cate Campbell and Dawn Fraser. Swimming team celebrations of the announcement of Cate Campbell as flagbearer for the Australian Olympic Team at Tokyo2020 Olympic Games. Cairns Australia, July 7 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit Mandatory for free usage. Thank you.

BROAD SHOULDERS: Catre Campbell embraces Dawn Fraser. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Cate Campbell and Dawn Fraser. Swimming team celebrations of the announcement of Cate Campbell as flagbearer for the Australian Olympic Team at Tokyo2020 Olympic Games. Cairns Australia, July 7 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit Mandatory for free usage. Thank you.

SO PROUD: The look from Dawn Fraser says it all and C ate Campbell embraces the moment. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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