Saturday, August 4, 2012

This Post Is Flagged

I'd like to draw your attention to Kim Collins, sprinter out of St. Kitts and Nevis. First, because his team sent him home for what they call leaving the Olympic Village and what he calls being in a hotel with his wife. However, I'd also like to mention him because he was his nation's flagbearer. For the third time. He also carried his flag in Sydney and Athens.

Also marking his third Olympics as national flagbearer is Kurt Couto of Mozambique, who carried the flag in Athens and Beijing. He ran in the men's 400 meter hurdles, being eliminated in the semifinals today.

Also in his third outing as flagbearer: Shiekh Saeed Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, who took part in men's skeet shooting. He came in 13th out of 36, failing to qualify for the 6-man final.

And in his fourth flagbearing appearance is Manuel Minginfel of Micronesia. He competed in men's weightlifting, 62kg division, and finished 10th out of 15.

What we'll show here is, according to Sports Reference, a listing of every athlete who has had the honor of carrying their nation's flag at least three times, in either summer or winter- and in the case of Francisco Fernandez Ochoa of Spain, both. (Ochoa was a winter athlete; he won Spain's first and to date only winter gold in Sapporo, winning the men;s slalom, and got rewarded with being the flagbearer in Munich later that year.)

3-time flagbearers:

Bhutan: Jubzang Jubzang, Barcelona/Atlanta/Sydney
Croatia: Janica Kostelic, Nagano/Salt Lake City/Torino
Cuba: Teofilo Stevenson, Munich/Montreal/Moscow
Finland: Akilles Jarvinen, Amsterdam/Los Angeles/Berlin
Gabon: Melanie Engoang, Sydney/Athens/Beijing
Gambia: Dawda Jallow, Seoul/Barcelona/Atlanta
Great Britain: Mike Dixon, Lillehammer/Nagano/Salt Lake City
Greece: Thanasis Tsakiris, Calgary/Albertville/Vancouver
Hungary: Gergely Kulcsar, Tokyo/Mexico City/Munich
India: Shiva Keshavan, Nagano/Salt Lake City/Vancouver
Iran: Ovaness Meguerdonian, Innsbruck/Grenoble/Sapporo
Kenya: Philip Boit, Nagano/Salt Lake City/Torino
Monaco: Albert, Prince Grimaldi, Calgary/Albertville/Lillehammer
Mongolia: Badmaanyanbuugiin Bat-Erdene, Seoul/Barcelona/Sydney
Mongolia: Luvsansharavyn Tsend, Innsbruck/Grenoble/Sapporo
Mozambique: Kurt Couto, Athens/Beijing/London
Panama: Eileen Marie Coparropa, Atlanta/Sydney/Athens
Paraguay: Ramon Jimenez-Gaona, Seoul/Barcelona/Atlanta
Poland: Waldemar Baszanowski, Tokyo/Mexico City/Munich
Romania: Aurel Vernescu, Tokyo/Mexico City/Munich
Soviet Union/Unified Team/Russia: Alexandr Karelin, Seoul/Barcelona/Atlanta
St. Kitts and Nevis: Kim Collins, Sydney/Athens/London
Sweden: Bo Lindman, Amsterdam/Los Angeles/Berlin
United Arab Emirates: Shiekh Saeed Al-Maktoum, Sydney/Athens/London

4-time flagbearers:
Austria: Hubert Raudaschl, Munich/Los Angeles/Seoul/Atlanta
Belgium: Gaston Roelants, Tokyo/Mexico City/Munich/Montreal
Micronesia: Manuel Minginfel, Sydney/Athens/Beijing/London
Spain: Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Sapporo/Munich/Innsbruck/Lake Placid
Trinidad and Tobago: Hasley Crawford, Munich/Montreal/Moscow/Los Angeles

5-time flagbearers:
Bermuda: Whitfield "Chummy" Hayward, London/Helsinki/Rome/Tokyo/Mexico City

Hayward was not an athlete and never competed; he was team manager and did some timekeeping in London and Helsinki. So who was he and why did he get the honor so often for Bermuda? Simple: it was his doing that got Bermuda's National Olympic Committee up and running in the first place, in time for Berlin 1936.

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