Beijing 2022 Flagbearer Announcement to Coincide with the Lunar New Year

Brendan Newby and Elsa Desmond have been named as the flagbearers for Team Ireland for the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing later this week. The Opening Ceremony begins at 19:30 local time, which is 11:30am in Ireland, and Ireland will be represented by six athletes across Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Luge and Snowboarding.

In a move to increase gender balance in the Olympic Games, the IOC increased the number of flagbearers per nation to two athletes ahead of last summer’s Tokyo Games, with one male and one female athlete sharing their nations flag as they walk into the stadium. Freestyle Skier Newby carried the flag for the Closing Ceremony in Pyeongchang 2018, and now will enter the stadium in his second Olympic Games as the flagbearer alongside Luger Desmond.

Allianz Team Ireland Flagbearer Announcement

This flagbearer announcement coincides with the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, which is a two week festival celebrating the first full moon of the year. This is a significant festival in China and across Asia and the cultural elements of this celebration are reflected across the Olympic venues.

Cork born Newby who is better known as Bubba described his emotions on being selected as flagbearer, saying,

“This is probably the greatest honour of my life. There really aren’t many Irish Winter Olympic opening ceremony flag bearers. So to be added to that short list is incredible. I was shocked when I received the call and I’ve been over the moon about it ever since! I’ll be sure to walk as slow as I can so I can hold the flag for as long as possible!”

First time Olympian Elsa Desmond earned her place in Beijing 2022 this January, and is relishing the Olympic experience so far,

“I feel so honoured to have been selected as flagbearer for the opening ceremony, I really was not expecting this, especially at my first Olympics. I don’t think I can put into words how excited I am to lead out the team. I really hope that when it comes to the races later in the week I can focus, relax, slide how I know I can, and make my country proud.”

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Beijing 2022 Nancy Chillingworth said,

“I’m delighted to be able to reveal Bubba and Elsa as the Allianz Team Ireland flagbearers for the opening ceremony. We are very lucky to have a great group of athletes on the team, with a wonderful mix of experience and first time Olympians – and it will be a really special moment walking into the Bird’s Nest next Friday, representing Ireland on the greatest stage of all. It has been a long journey for the whole team getting to this point – with the challenge of preparing for the Games greater than ever during the last few months.

“I have to commend each athlete for their resilience and patience over the past few weeks in particular. The additional stress of the potential for covid to impact their dreams has been immense but every one of them has been taking it in their stride, reacting professionally and focusing on preparing for competition. I am thoroughly looking forward to watching them perform and it will be great to get the Games finally underway.”

The new face for the website has been revealed today, and once the competition starts it will contain the live information regarding Team Ireland athletes, with schedules, results, profiles and news stories.

The media guidelines on how to follow the Team Ireland athletes and sports will also be unveiled in the coming days.

The updated schedule for Team Ireland in Beijing 2022 can be found HERE.

REMINDER: The Road to Beijing Schools Challenge was launched last week, with school children around Ireland following Team Ireland in Beijing, while also learning about winter sports, the history of Ireland at the Winter Olympic Games and the Chinese culture. Register AT THIS LINK.

The flagbearer announcement has been brought by Allianz, proud partner to Team Ireland.

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