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Sailor Mat Belcher to carry flag into Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony

by Australian Olympic Committee 7 Aug 06:27 BST 8 August 2021
Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan of Team Australia winning gold in the Men's 470 class on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Enoshima Yacht Harbour on August 04, in Fujisawa, Japan © Australian Olympic Committee

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced that sailor Mat Belcher will be Flag Bearer at the Closing Ceremony at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games tomorrow night.

Belcher and teammate Will Ryan took the gold in the 470s on Wednesday, adding to his gold at London in 2012 with Malcolm Page then silver in Rio in 2016 with Will Ryan.

Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman says Mat is a most deserving candidate to lead the Australian Team into the Olympic Stadium for the final moment of these successful Games for Australia.

"Mat is steeped in the Olympic tradition and very successful in what he has achieved with medals at three successive Olympic Games. He is the most successful sailor in Australian Olympic history.

"Two golds and a silver over those three Games is quite something. It's an extraordinary record of achievement, performing at this level of competition.

"And fitting to come away with a gold medal in what is the final appearance for Mat and Will in this class together. It will be a mixed class in Paris 2024.

"They completely dominated at these Games building an unassailable lead prior to their final race on Wednesday."

It's not Belcher's first time carrying a flag at an Olympic Closing Ceremony. As a teenager he carried the Olympic Flag at Sydney 2000.

Belcher says he was delighted at the honour when asked by Ian Chesterman.

"This has been an historic Games for all sorts of reasons and of course personally satisfying to have won that gold with Will. Ian's call was an unexpected surprise and something that I will treasure.

"This has been a wonderful Team that has achieved so much. To lead them into the Closing Ceremony means so much. I will be carrying the flag not just for those who are here but for all those now in quarantine back home or headed elsewhere. This will be for all of us."

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