Mon, September 23, 2013

Magic moment for Simon Whitfield

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency


Simon Whitfield leads the Canadian athletes into the stadium during the opening ceremonies of 2012 Olympic games at Olympic Stadium in London. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)



LONDON - The smile on Simon Whitfield’s face was at least as bright as the red and white Maple Leaf he carried into the Olympic Stadium here on Friday night.

The great Canadian triathlete, a gold medallist in Australia in 2000 and a silver medallist four years ago Beijing has been a leader by example to many of his young teammates, a worthy choice to carry the flag in this, his final Olympics. And the Kingston, Ont., native was clearly caught up in the spectacular scene played out in front of 80,000 spectators gathered to ring in the Games.

“What a rush,” the 37-year-old triathlete said after leading the Canadian contingent into the Olympic Stadium here on Friday night. “It was so amazing and was such an honour to be here leading all of the athletes that I respect.”

With the prospect of a long, drawn out ceremony, only a third of the 377 Canadian athletes here marched behind Whitfield. Several are in action this weekend and wanted to conserve energy while many more, such as kayaker Adam van Koeverden, who carried the flag four years ago, are still at pre-Games training camps.