Teenage gymnast Nile Wilson (Leeds) was named today as Team GB’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Utrecht.
Wilson was nominated by his Team Leader Barry Collie alongside representatives from each of the five sports that Team GB is participating in at the EYOF. He was then selected as flag bearer following a vote by his fellow Team GB athletes.
Chef de Mission for Utrecht 2013, double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Gosling, announced Wilson as flag bearer and presented him with the Union Flag at the Team GB Team Reception at the Grand Hotel Karel V prior to the Opening Ceremony.
Seventeen-year-old Wilson will carry the Union Flag into the 24,000 capacity Galgenwaard Stadion as more than 2,300 young athletes parade in front of spectators to open the 12th edition of the bi-annual Festival.
The EYOF 2013 is Wilson’s second outing for Team GB, the Junior European all-around silver medallist represented Team GB earlier this year at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney (AYOF). At the AYOF Wilson returned home with three golds, a silver and two bronze medals.
Wilson will lead Team GB’s 44-strong ranks, aged 13-17, into the stadium ahead of five days of sporting competition across five Olympic sports and disciplines against 48 European nations.
Utrecht’s Opening Ceremony will feature all the key elements of an Olympic Opening Ceremony with the Olympic cauldron being lit, the athletes’ parade and the official opening of the Festival by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
The outgoing International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Jacques Rogge, will also be present at the Ceremony. His initiative created the EYOF 22 years ago and this will be his last official engagement as IOC President.
Team GB Flag Bearer Wilson said:
“I can’t quite believe I’ve been selected. The other nominees have achieved so much in their sports already but I’m so happy and proud to be chosen. The Ceremony is in a big football stadium and I’ll be parading past the Dutch King and the IOC President so I may be a bit nervous, but I can’t wait. I want to thank all my teammates for giving me this opportunity and I hope I’ll make them proud. Competing for Team GB at a Youth Olympic Festival is such a fantastic opportunity and I know the whole team is ready to give their all for Team GB.”
Team GB Chef de Mission Sarah Gosling said:
“Congratulations to Nile for being elected as Team GB flag bearer, it is a great honour to carry the Union Flag and will be a proud moment for him and his family. The European Youth Olympic Festival is a fantastic event that gives young athletes like Nile the chance to compete against the best athletes in Europe. Although Nile has already accomplished so much in his short sporting career I am sure this will be a memory they will never forget. I have no doubt he will do the team, his family and Team GB proud."
Gymnastics Team Leader Barry Collie said:
“I am immensely proud of Nile, he is our team captain for the junior boys team and it is fantastic for our sport that he will now be leading out Team GB for EYOF 2013. He is a great role model for any athlete not just his fellow gymnastics teammates.
“Nile demonstrates all of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect both on and off of the field of play along with our own team values of discipline, endeavour, and trust.”