News story

Service personnel flag-bearers chosen for Olympic ceremonies

Dressed in their ceremonial day uniforms, these servicemen and women will take part in over 100 ‘team welcome ceremonies’ and 805 ‘victory ceremonies…

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Dressed in their ceremonial day uniforms, these servicemen and women will take part in over 100 ‘team welcome ceremonies’ and 805 ‘victory ceremonies’ during the Games.

The personnel have been chosen through a Ministry of Defence nomination process highlighting those with sporting or operational achievements, or who are involved in their local communities.

Teams will consist of six flag-bearers and one flag-manager. There will be eight Royal Navy teams, nine Army teams, eight RAF teams and one overall commander who will sit centrally with the London 2012 Team Welcome and Victory Ceremonies Team.

There will be a total of 805 victory ceremonies across the Olympic and Paralympic Games which will be seen by millions of spectators in London 2012 venues and a worldwide TV audience.

Victory ceremonies take place when a medal event finishes; after the awarding of medals, the flags of the gold, silver and bronze medal-winning athlete’s countries are raised while the national anthem of the country or territory of the winning athlete is played.

The victory ceremonies provide a chance for athletes to formally celebrate their success, and allow their home country to be united in celebration as the national anthem is played and the national flag raised. The anthems are recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in advance of the Games.

Team welcome ceremonies are designed to formally welcome the athletes and team officials to the Games and include the protocol of raising flags. There will be over 100 team welcome ceremonies taking place on the days leading up to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The National Youth Theatre will create, write, stage and perform the ceremonies which will welcome over 200 Olympic teams and over 170 Paralympic teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Village and to the Games.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said:

The flag-raising duties at the Olympic and Paralympic Games are seen as an honour, but we are in fact honoured to have these inspirational men and women be part of London 2012.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, said:

Our Armed Forces are world-renowned for their ceremonial excellence. As a former serviceman myself I am delighted that they will perform such an important role at the Games.

Some of the Service personnel chosen to be in the flag-raising ceremonies expressed their feelings on being involved:

Warrant Officer Class 1 Paul Barker said:

As a member of the Royal Navy I am proud to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the skills of our Armed Forces at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the senior ceremonial instructor, my role is to ensure the tri-Service flag-raising teams are trained to the highest of standards and supported during the Games along with my small team of Royal Naval instructors.

Lieutenant Alex Davies, Royal Navy, said:

I am very proud to have been selected to represent the Royal Navy and contribute to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am really looking forward to being involved in London 2012.

Gunner Zanna Bateman said:

This is fantastic, I feel so honoured to be chosen to be part of these events. It will be something to talk about for the rest of my life, mum will be so proud!

Squadron Leader Lee Cobley said:

My father represented Great Britain at the Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960 Games so they hold a special fascination for me. As a keen athlete and organiser of RAF squash for many years it always feels good to put something back into sport, and what greater way is there than assisting at the Olympic and Paralympic Games?

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Published 9 March 2012