Speculation has started as to which athlete should carry the Australian
flag at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Cadel
Evans is listed as the hot favourite.
2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans (Reuters Images)
Does it come as a surprise
that Australia's only Tour de France winner may be the athlete who
continues a tradition dating back to 1908?
According to bookmakers who have opened the betting market we shouldn't be, check out these odds.
- $2.90 Cadel Evans
- $3.75 Leisel Jones
- $5.00 Jamie Dwyer
- $8.00 Sally Pearson
- $9.00 Michael Diamond, Russell Mark
- $15 Anna Meares
- $26 Steve Hooker
- $34 James Magnussen, Stephanie Rice
But after listening to ABC Radio last weekend when the topic was raised
between a small group of female sports journalists, Cadel didn't seem
to get a look-in among the so-called "experts."
mentioned in the discussion for flag bearer duty included Sydney 2000
beach volleyball gold medalist Natalie Cook who is chasing Olympic
selection for a sixth time, 3-time Olympic silver medalist, Opals and
WNBA heroine Lauren Jackson, and table tennis champion Miao Miao.
To be named Olympic flag bearer for your nation is an honour that
shouldn't come cheaply and there's no doubt all the above mentioned
names should be considered, but there's no doubt Cadel's historic and
legendary achievement on the Champs Elysees in July last year was
Some might argue combining the Tour de France and
the Olympics is like mixing oil and water - they represent two very
different sporting platforms totally unrelated to each other.
That may be the case but Cadel's heroics in France went beyond the parameters of sport success.
For a short time he unified a nation wanting to share in his
magnificent triumph as was evident when he and wife Chiara returned to
Both were received by tens of thousands in the street homecoming parade with millions more watching on television.
When failing to win Victoria's official nomination for Australian of
the Year, (to celebrated actor Geoffrey Rush in January) some saw the
omission as a disappointing oversight.
If you look back on
Cadel's Olympic career he certainly ticks all the boxes. He made his
debut in Atlanta in 1996 as a 19 year-old when securing 9th place in the
Mountain Bike cross country event. Four years later he finished 7th in
Sydney in the same race.
After standing on the podium at the
2008 Tour de France as runner-up alongside Spanish winner Carlos Sastre,
Cadel made a bee-line to Beijing where he was 15th in the Olympic Road
If it was OK for Roger Federer to carry the flag in
Beijing as Switzerland's most outstanding sportsperson, then why should
Cadel be overlooked for Australia in 2012?
Whether Cadel is
named or not, I genuinely believe an Aussie cyclist should be highly
considered to carry the national flag into London's Olympic arena.
Anna Meares and Stuart O'Grady are two names which automatically come to mind.
Cycling hasn't had an Olympic flag bearer since Dunc Gray did the honours in 1936 so it may be time for the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) to take a look at the talent on hand in the two wheeled disciplines.
So who do you think should carry Australia's flag at the Olympics?