Paddy Barnes to carry Ireland flag at Rio 2016 opening ceremony
Double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes will carry the tricolour and lead the Irish team during the opening ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics on August 5.
The President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey made the announcement today. Barnes, who has already made history by becoming the first Irish boxer to qualify for three Olympics, has never made any secret of his ambition to be the Irish flag bearer at the Games which begins in 100 days’ time.
Katie Taylor was the flag bearer at the 2012 Olympics in London but Paddy still stole the show. He wrote on a sheet of paper ‘Open for sponsors @ Paddyb-ireland (twitter)’ and held it up for the cameras as he paraded around the in-field during the opening ceremony.
Barnes will lead what is expected to be the largest ever Irish team at an Olympians. So far 66 Irish athletes have qualified.
“I’m delighted to have been asked to carry the Irish flag into the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony," said Barnes, a two-time Olympic Games medal winner.
"It’s an amazing feeling to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it twice before already. Going to my third Olympic Games as the flag bearer for Team Ireland now is just an incredible honour.
"I will be going for gold in Rio in the ring but I will also have the responsibility of helping to build a really positive environment for all Irish athletes. I could not be more excited about the next 100 days.”
OCI President Patrick Hickey said: “I am delighted to announce that our hugely talented boxer Paddy Barnes has been selected as Team Ireland’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony.
"Paddy already has two Olympic medals to his name, and he’s a reigning Commonwealth Games champion. So we have high hopes of him bringing home another medal. More importantly, his commitment to the cause of Irish boxing and Irish sport makes him a role model for aspiring young athletes in Ireland and the natural choice as Ireland’s flag bearer."