Fed and Gonzo fly the flag at the opening ceremony
Originally published on: 26/02/10 14:34
Roger Federer and Fernando Gonzalez were chosen as flag-bearing representatives for their countries in the Olympic opening ceremony, and reveled in the opportunity.
“It’s wonderful that I can carry the flag for the Swiss delegation on my birthday,” said Federer, who turned 27 on August 8 2008.
“ I still have a score to settle with the Olympics” – Roger Federer
For Federer, the Olympics have always been special. He met girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec at the 2000 Games in Sydney. I will always remember the Olympics because its here where I met my girlfriend, said Federer.
With a smile, he added, You can hold the flag only for 10-20 minutes, but here I am – holding on to my girlfriend for eight years.
But Federer was quick to remind reporters that he is not in Beijing to just carry a flag. “It’s well known that I still have a score to settle with the Olympics, and being handed this honour for a second time will give me extra motivation.”
I want to win the gold. I have enough left in me this season to win it, declared the 12-time Grand Slam winner.
And while Federer and the Switzerland squad opted for a sensible polo-shirt-and-shorts combo, some national committees decided to showboat a little on the fashion front.
“The most important thing was to have borne the flag” – Fernando Gonzalez
Tennis player Fernando Gonzalez led out the Chilean delegation wearing a blue traditional huaso outfit, while the rest of the delegation dressed in blue with red polo shirts.
After the ceremony, a clearly excited Gonzalez said he was thrilled to have been the flag bearer for his country even in the sweltering conditions of the Bird’s Nest.
“We are all super happy and we all have the same dreams as in Athens. Doesn’t matter the heat, the most important was to have borne the flag,” Gonzalez said.
Speaking to the people of Chile, he said, “I want to thank you all because it was super nice for me and for that I only can thank you.”
“Being here, we already are winners” – Nicolas Massu
Defending Olympic tennis champion and compatriot Nicolas Massu added that “each time one is here it is important. We feel proud of being here and to participate in the Olympic Games. Being here, we already are winners.”
Not everyone was quite so enthralled with the spectacle. Rafael Nadal revealed that the Olympic opening ceremony had tired him out, with all of the waiting around in advance.
The event itself lasted nearly four hours, and athletes were required to arrive well in advance for security checks.
But 22-year-old who looked five years younger than his on-court persona in a red blazer, said Friday’s dazzling opening had still been an experience to treasure.
“Yesterday was very emotional, but at the same time a tough moment as we had to wait a lot of time there and I finished very tired,” the Spaniard said.
“But when we went in (to the stadium) it was special,” said Nadal.
“It goes over the limits of what we humans know” – Novak Djokovic
“This and the U.S. Open is the last big fight,” he said, adding he was already looking forward to the end of the US Open, which starts on August 25, and spending a month in Spain.
Men’s singles third seed Novak Djokovic said the Olympics were proving the perfect energy boost after a grueling season.
Australian Open champion Djokovic was caught by TV cameras jumping up and down like an excitable kid at the opening ceremony when the Serbian team paraded around the stadium.
“I felt re-energised last night. It was unforgettable,” said the 21-year-old, who is in no doubt that he is privileged to be competing at the Olympics.
“It goes over the normal limits of what we humans know. It’s a big pleasure and honour to be part of the most important, most valuable and most well-known event in the world of sport. I’m living the moment.”