Aerial skier Laura Peel and figure skater Brendan Kerry have been named Australia’s flag-bearers for the Beijing 2022 opening ceremony.
- Peel and Kerry are both going to their third Olympics
- It is the first time Australia has had dual flag-bearers at a Winter Games, but it did happen at the Tokyo Summer Olympics
- Kerry says he hopes his selection spurs growth of figure skating in Australia
It is the first time Australia has had dual flag-bearers at a Winter Olympics opening ceremony, but follows in the footsteps of Australia’s Summer Games team in Tokyo, when basketball star Patty Mills and swimmer Cate Campbell shared the responsibility.
Kerry and Peel are both contesting their third Olympic Games.
Despite finishing fifth in the final of the aerials in PyeongChang 2018 and winning world titles in 2015 and 2021, Peel said carrying the flag would be be her proudest moment in the sport.
“This honour definitely goes to the top of the list,” she said.
“Growing up, I dreamed of being an Olympian and it’s always so special to pull on the green and gold; being a flag-bearer is beyond anything I ever dreamed of. This is such an incredible team.
“Australia has such a rich history in aerial skiing. I’m so grateful to the athletes who came before me, like Alisa Camplin, Jacqui Cooper, Lydia Lassila, David Morris.
“They paved the way for us in our sport.”
While aerial skiing has been one of Australia’s most successful Winter Olympic events, figure skating does not have the same local pedigree.
Kerry said he was “speechless” when he was told the news by chef de mission Geoff Lipshut and hoped it would help grow the sport.
“It was the biggest shock and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I am honoured. I honestly thought he was calling me because there was a big problem,” Kerry said.
“Being an Olympian is special. For me, being a Winter Olympian is another level in a finite group. To be a flag-bearer, now cast with that select group of winter athletes before me, is amazing. I look at it as reflecting all the work, all the struggles – I see it as the acknowledgement of my peers and my country.
“I have been so fortunate in my sport, competing against the best in the world overseas. I now get to share that knowledge and experience with the up-and-coming athletes back home. I’d like to think that I am paving the way for a new generation.”
Kerry’s mother, Monica, competed for Australia in figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics.