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Lassila bears flag for Closing Ceremony

27 February 2010

Freestyle aerials gold medallist Lydia Lassila will carry the Australian flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

The announcement was made last night by the Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman.

“Lydia’s performance at Cypress Mountain was truly inspiring and I know what a popular decision this will be amongst the rest of the team,” Chesterman said.

“To land those two jumps in extraordinarily tough weather conditions coupled with the pressure of an Olympic final highlighted the tremendous talent and determination that is synonymous with Lydia Lassila,” he added.

“I said before the Games that this team of athletes was our best credentialed ever – and together they have returned the best ever medal haul for an Australian team at a Winter Games.

“The athletes, coaches, medical staff and management should be tremendously proud of their hard work in making these Games so great for the Australian team.

“Led by Lydia, Torah Bright and Dale Begg-Smith this team deserves its place as the greatest ever at a Winter Olympic Games.

“There was some terrific performances by our athletes that will act as a spur for Sochi in 2014 like Alex Pullin in the snowboard cross, Scott Kneller in the ski cross, Cheltzie Lee dazzling the country with her performance in the figure skating and even Lachlan Hay breaking the Olympic record in the short track,” Chesterman added.

Lassila said being asked to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony is a wonderful honour.

“Wow – what a way to cap of an incredible week,” Lassila said.

“Since Wednesday night it has been a crazy few days but when Ian asked me to carry the flag I was really emotional,” she added.

“It’s recognition of years of hard work and a great moment for my family back in Australia.

“There’ll be plenty of people back in Melbourne who will be cheering wildly when I walk into the stadium on Sunday.

“And when you consider the great efforts of the entire Aussie team here in Vancouver it really is something very special.

“I wasn’t able to march in the Opening Ceremony as I was training which was a difficult decision for me, because wearing the colours of Australia is the greatest honour that any sport can offer.

“Now, everything has paid off and I hope my performances, and those of the rest of the team inspire a new generation of Australian boys and girls to want to be a Winter Olympian,” Lassila said.

Damian Kelly

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