Basketball player and NBA superstar, Patty Mills becomes the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag at an Opening Ceremony while Cate Campbell becomes the first female swimmer to do so. Local media reported.
“It’s incredible, a very passionate moment I can feel in my bones,” Mills said to 7News.
For the first time, the International Olympic Committee has decreed that a male and female carry the flag of each nation at the ceremony.
“To be selected to carry the flag and lead our team into the Olympic Stadium is the highest recognition of achievement and leadership that can be bestowed on any athlete in any Australian sport or multi-sport team,” Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said in a letter to both flag-bearers.
Both Cate and Patty are attending their fourth Olympic Games, having made their debuts in Beijing 2008. They will add to the list of 23 Australians who have previously carried the flag at a Summer Games, beginning with George Parker in Antwerp in 1920.
The Tokyo-bound Australian Olympic team will include the largest number of Indigenous athletes in games history.
Of the 472 athletes, 16 will represent the First Nations people of Australia, competing in 11 sports.
Mills, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs was born 32 years ago in the Australian capital, Canberra. Mills’ father, Benny, is a Torres Strait Islander (Muralag) and his mother, Yvonne, is Aboriginal Australian (Nyunga).