Eley to carry British flag

Eley to carry British flag

Jon Eley will be competing in his third Winter Olympics

Jon Eley will be competing in his third Winter Olympics

First published in National Sport News © by

Short track speed skater Jon Eley has been chosen to carry the flag for Great Britain in Friday's opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Solihull-born Eley, 29, will be taking part in his third Winter Olympics and is the most experienced member of the British short track team.

He began skating at 18 months old and his first sport was ice hockey.

Eley gave short track a try at the age of 12 to improve his ice hockey and was subsequently offered a chance to join the British national short track team.

He made his Winter Olympics debut in Turin in 2006 and finished sixth in the 500m.

In February 2007 he became the first British short track speed skater to win gold at a World Cup competition when he won the 500m in Heerenveen.

Gold followed in the 2008 Europeans and he finished sixth in the 500m and the relay at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

Eley was delighted to be given the honour of carrying the flag for the 56-strong British team.

He said: "To be representing Team GB for my third time is a great honour and being selected as the flagbearer has made it unbelievable.

"Carrying the flag I hope will not only be a very proud moment for my wife, my family and myself, but also my team-mates across Team GB - who have all made a massive contribution to my career - and my sport.

"It is an amazing privilege and a moment that I will treasure for the rest of my life, and I plan to use this opportunity to fuel my ambitions in competition and encourage my team-mates to be their best, ensuring that this is just the start of a very successful Games for myself and the rest of Team GB."

Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay added: "Jon is an excellent choice to lead Team GB into the opening ceremony in Sochi and we are very proud to have him as our flagbearer.

"Jon understands and embraces the responsibilities that come with being an Olympian and a member of Team GB. He leads through his actions and sets a positive example for our entire delegation. Jon is widely respected by his team-mates across Team GB and he is certainly deserving of this tremendous honour."

The opening ceremony will begin at 2014 local time (1614GMT) on Friday, with the parade taking place between 2025-2110 (1625-1710GMT).

During the parade around 40,000 spectators will welcome a record-breaking 87 nations into the Fisht Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park.

Short track team leader Stuart Horsepool said: "Being flagbearer is a fantastic honour for any athlete and I am absolutely delighted for Jon. He embodies the principle of 'One Team GB' and although he's been selected for the role in Sochi, he's been a flagbearer and a leader for short track for the past two Olympic cycles.

"To finish in the top eight at two consecutive Olympic Winter Games in a sport that is notoriously unpredictable is a testimony to him as an athlete. Since Vancouver he's had some injury setbacks that he has had to overcome, so his dedication and hard work to get to this point makes him very deserving."

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