Emily Arthur announced as flag bearer for Youth Olympic Team
12 February 2016
TEAM: Snowboarder Emily Arthur has been selected to carry the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the second Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The ceremony is set to take place on Friday night (5:30am Saturday AEDT) at the iconic ski jump venue above Lillehammer in Norway, 22 years and 2 hours since the official opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics.
The 16-year-old from Sydney has already competed at a senior World Championships alongside idol Torah Bright and won a Junior World Championships medal.
The halfpipe specialist was thrilled at the announcement at the official team welcome.
“I was very surprised there are so many great athletes here right now and I’m just so honoured that they picked me and I just can’t wait,” Arthur said at the Team Welcome Ceremony.
She will lead out the Australian Team of 17 athletes at the Opening Ceremony in freezing conditions.
“I’m very excited it’s supposed to be minus 13 so that should be fun but hopefully we all stay warm so we can enjoy the experience as much as we can.”
Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman made the tough decision from the strong Australian Team that will contest eight disciplines.
“It is a statement of how far winter sports in Australia have come that when selecting a flag bearer at a Youth Games and you already have athletes that are making their mark on the world stage,” Chesterman said.
“Emily has had great success in Junior competitions and has already contested a senior world championships. She is an outstanding young ambassador and will do Australia proud at the Opening Ceremony.”
Innsbruck 2012 flag bearer and Sochi 2014 Olympian Greta Small, who has been helping the young athletes prepare this week, was excited to have the chance to pass on the flag to Arthur.
“It was great feeling and I’m really proud of Emily, she’s a great role model and she will represent the Australian Team fantastically,” Small said.
“The Youth Olympic Games is more than just about the sport it’s about gaining experience and preparing for the future.”
Having Small there this week has made an impact.
“It’s so amazing that she’s here. She’s come to cheer us all on and her words right before were so nice and inspiring and it was really nice of her to pass the flag on to me,” Arthur said.
The team welcome was hosted at a local Pierre de Coubertin school where the Australian athletes and officials were joined by local students who have been connecting with Jindabyne High School via video messages in the lead-up to Lillehammer 2016.
The athletes were also able to spend time with their family and friends who had made the 30 hour plus trip from Australia, with some not having seen each other for over two months.
“I got to see my parents, having been in Europe for three months for training. It’s really cool and good to have their support here as well,” Ski Cross racer Zali Offord said.
Lillehammer holds a special place in Australia’s sporting history with it being the site of the nation’s first Winter Olympic medal when the 5000m short track relay team claimed bronze in 1994.
The podium finish started an unbroken run of medals for Australia in Winter Olympic competitions including two top three results at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The Australian Team will march as one in the Opening Ceremony with Arthur leading the way while another Aussie athlete will feature in a segment alongside IOC President Thomas Bach.
The Opening Ceremony will be streamed live on the Olympic Youtube Channel from 5:30am AEDT (link here>>>).
On Saturday, following the opening ceremony Australia will be represented in alpine skiing, cross country skiing and ice hockey skills. Competition concludes on Sunday 21 February.