When Staff Canada enters a near-empty Olympic Stadium to formally kick off Tokyo 2020 on Friday, will probably be led by Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) introduced Monday that Ayim, a basketball participant, and Hirayama, a member of the boys’s rugby sevens squad, are the nation’s flag-bearers for the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony.
Ayim and Hirayama mark Canada’s first duo from totally different sports activities to earn the honour after the Worldwide Olympic Committee made an modification in March to permit every nation to designate one male and one feminine. Ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Advantage led Canada into the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
“I really feel so honoured to symbolize Staff Canada and lead Staff Canada within the opening ceremony alongside Nate,” Ayim mentioned Monday in a video convention. “This previous yr and a half has demanded a excessive stage of teamwork, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast stepped up and demonstrated togetherness, resilience and solidarity.”
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Ayim, 33, is one among three Canadian basketball gamers set to compete at her third Olympics. The Chatham, Ont., native beforehand introduced plans to retire after Tokyo.
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At present ranked fourth on the planet by FIBA, Canada fell within the quarter-finals of every of Ayim’s first two Olympics however now appears primed to play for a medal.
The ladies’s basketball event begins July 26 when Canada takes on Serbia at 4:20 a.m. ET and runs by way of the gold-medal recreation on Aug. 8.
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Hirayama, additionally 33, has performed for the nationwide sevens workforce since debuting as an 18-year-old in 2006. Fifteen years later, the Richmond, B.C., native and workforce co-captain will make his Olympic debut. The boys’s workforce didn’t qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016, when sevens was added as an occasion.
Hirayama’s father, Garry, earned 12 caps for Canada between 1977 and 1982, making them the primary father-son duo to play for the nationwide workforce in rugby.
“It is a huge honour to be requested to do that, particularly alongside somebody as adorned and (who) has had the sort of profession Miranda has had,” Hirayama mentioned. “Very excited to recover from there with my squad and get into these Video games.”
Hirayama sits third in profession scoring within the rugby sevens World Sequence. Canada enters the Olympics ranked eighth, nevertheless it positioned third in its closing event of 2020 earlier than the pandemic reduce the season brief.
The sevens workforce opens its Video games with a pair of matches on July 26 in opposition to Rio runner-up Britain and champion Fiji. The event is a brief one, with medals set to be received on July 28.
“Seeing two large leaders like Miranda and Nathan now able to information the way in which into the Opening Ceremony for Staff Canada is one thing extremely particular,” Eric Myles, chief sport officer of the COC, mentioned in a launch.
The reveal of Canada’s flag-bearers was made Monday morning by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Miranda and Nathan are leaders on their respective groups,” Trudeau mentioned. “They embody the resilience, perseverance and excellence of Staff Canada.”
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Opening ceremony like no different
You’ll be able to watch stay protection of the opening ceremony on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca starting at 6:30 a.m. ET. Broadcasts can be supplied in eight totally different Indigenous languages along with English, American Signal Language and described video.
There will not be any followers on the ceremony — spectators are barred from all venues as Tokyo stays in a state of emergency resulting from COVID-19 — however a crowd of about 10,000 IOC members, authorities officers and others is anticipated to be in attendance within the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
It stays unclear whether or not the variety of members within the ceremony can be restricted for the standard Parade of Nations, which normally options hundreds of athletes strolling into the stadium.
Athletes are solely permitted into the Olympic Village 5 days earlier than their competitors, and plenty of who compete within the days instantly following the opening ceremony prioritize relaxation over pageantry.
Rowing duo Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle have been the primary Canadian pair to be named flag-bearers after they have been awarded the honour on the 1996 closing ceremony in Atlanta. Determine skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier have been closing flag-bearers in 2002 in Salt Lake Metropolis, and bobsledders Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse led Staff Canada to shut the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Canada’s first 21 opening ceremony flag-bearers have been males earlier than skier Nancy Greene served within the position on the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France.
Since then, Canada has evenly divided the responsibility between women and men, with 14 every.