Andy Murray to be Team GB flag bearer for Rio Olympics opening ceremony

Great Britain's Andy Murray

Andy Murray has been named as Great Britain’s flag bearer for Friday’s opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics in favour of the boxer Nicola Adams.

Murray, who won singles gold and mixed doubles silver at London 2012, will lead a British delegation of approximately 55 athletes at the Maracana Stadium in his third Olympics, following in the footsteps of Sir Chris Hoy, who carried the flag four years ago and Mark Foster, who had the honour at Beijing 2008.

“I am very proud to be selected as the Team GB flag bearer for the opening ceremony on Friday,” said Murray. “To represent your country at the Games is an unbelievable experience, but to lead out Team GB will be an incredible honour, the biggest in sport.

“This is my third Olympic Games and it is a very special competition for me. I obviously have great memories of London and I am 100% focused on winning here in Rio. The privilege of being the flag bearer is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life and will certainly be one of the highlights of my career.

“I hope to do the team proud on Friday and wish all of the British athletes the best of luck for the Games ahead.”

Bradley Wiggins, who will become Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian of all time should he win a medal in the team pursuit, was the bookies’ favourite by a distance but he ruled himself out of the running on Tuesday.

The number of British athletes attending the opening ceremony is considerably smaller than that in London and Beijing with the athletes’ village some 18 miles away from the Maracana and competition across a number of sports beginning early on Saturday morning.

Earlier on Wednesday Murray had expressed his disappointment that many of tennis’s leading players have not travelled to Rio to contest the men’s singles title. With Stan Wawrinka the latest to withdraw from the Games because of a back injury and fellow Swiss Roger Federer also on the sidelines, the defending champion faces a list of opponents diminished by a series of no-shows.

Half of the men’s top 10 will be absent from Rio, with Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic withdrawing because of fears over the Zika virus and Dominic Thiem also choosing to skip the event, while there are also question marks over Rafael Nadal’s fitness following a wrist injury.

Adams, who made history by becoming the first ever women’s Olympic gold medal winning boxer four years ago, would have been only Great Britain’s seventh female flag bearer since 1906 and the first to do so at a summer Games since the judoka Kate Howey at Athens 2004. Adams was selected as Great Britain’s flag bearer at the inaugural European Games in Baku last year.

Team GB’s chef de mission, Mark England, said: “The conviction with which Andy spoke to me about the honour of carrying the flag only underlined why he is such an exceptional individual, and absolutely the right choice. There are a great number of outstanding athletes on this team, from Nicola Adams who I made flag bearer in Baku, to Sir Bradley Wiggins, unquestionably one of our greatest ever Olympians.

“When I asked Andy to lead our team out it was received with a humility and grace that is befitting of the values of Team GB. It was an emotional moment for him personally, and for this team.”

Powered by article was written by Guardian sport, for The Guardian on Wednesday 3rd August 2016 17.25 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010