Bobsleigh pilot George Johnston will enter Friday’s Opening Ceremony of the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games as Team GB’s Flagbearer after a vote by his fellow athletes.
Johnston, who qualified for Lillehammer 2016 as number one in the world in the men’s monobob event, will parade the union flag around the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena and represent Team GB’s 16-strong athlete delegation.
The 17-year-old from Taunton will have to wait until next Saturday to bid for a medal at the Lillehammer Olympic Sliding Centre but Johnston was delighted to begin his Games with the honour of being voted as Flagbearer.
Johnston said: “I’m overwhelmed by the news and feel incredibly proud that I’ll be the one who gets to carry the flag into the Opening Ceremony. The fact that it was voted for by the other athletes makes it extra special.
“I don’t compete until right until the very end of the Games so to have this moment at the beginning is fantastic.
“It’s been great meeting the other athletes from different sports who are part of Team GB and everyone is here to do their best, perform and enjoy themselves so it’s a really good atmosphere around the team too.”
Lillehammer 2016 runs until Sunday 21st February with around 1,100 athletes, all aged between 15 and 18 years old, from 70 nations around the world set to compete during the 10 days of winter action in Norway.
In total, 70 medal events will be contested across 15 sport disciplines with Team GB’s 16 athletes set to compete in seven of these; alpine skiing, bobsleigh, curling, freestyle skiing, ice hockey skills challenge, luge and skeleton.
Chef de Mission Adam Pengilly said: “To walk into an Opening Ceremony holding a union flag is the highlight of anyone’s representative career with Team GB outside of the field of play.
“To have the team supporting you and having voted you as the Flagbearer is a huge honour and George fully deserves this as not only number one in the world in his sport but also a real team player as part of Team GB.
“The team have settled in well into Lillehammer and are enjoying the Olympic environment. The organising committee have done a fantastic job for what’s set to be a great Youth Olympic Games and we’re now looking forward to the competition kicking off on Friday.”