Ayim of basketball and Hirayama of rugby will carry the Canadian flag into the unique Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony
Click on the video above at 9 AM Eastern Time to watch a virtual live broadcast of the flag bearer announcement.
On Friday, when the Canadian team enters the almost empty Olympic Stadium to officially start the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it will be led by Miranda Aiim and Nathan Hirayama.
The Canadian Olympic Committee announced on Monday that basketball player Ayim and member of the men’s sevens rugby team Hirayama will be the national flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Ayim and Hirayama marked the first Canadian duo from different sports to receive this honor, after the International Olympic Committee made an amendment in March to allow each country to designate a man and a woman. Ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue lead Canada into the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
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Ayim, 33, is one of three Canadian basketball players preparing to participate in the third Olympic Games. The Chatham, Ontario native had previously announced plans to retire after Tokyo.
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Currently ranked fourth in the world in the FIBA, Canada has reached the quarter-finals in the first two Olympic Games in Aim, but now it seems to be ready to compete for medals.
“[The podium] Always the goal. We wanted to do the same thing when we entered 2016, and now we are in a place where we should do it,” Ayim said recently.
The Women’s Basketball Championship will begin on July 26, when Canada will face Serbia at 4:20 am Eastern Time, and will complete the gold medal match on August 8.
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Hirayama, also 33, has been playing for the National Sevens team since his debut as an 18-year-old in 2006. Fifteen years later, the native of Richmond, British Columbia and the team captain will make his first Olympic appearance. When a seven-a-side event was added to the 2016 Rio Olympics, the men’s team was not eligible to participate.
Hirayama’s father Gary played 12 times for Canada from 1977 to 1982, making them the first father-son combination to play for the national football team.
Hirayama ranks third in career scoring in the World Rugby Sevens Series. Canada ranked eighth when it participated in the Olympics, but ranked third in the last race of 2020 before the pandemic shortened the season.
The seven-a-side team kicked off the game in two matches against Rio runner-up England and champion Fiji on July 26. The competition time is short and the medal will be won on July 28.
A distinctive opening ceremony
You can watch live coverage of the opening ceremony on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca starting at 6:30 am EST. In addition to English, American Sign Language and video descriptions, broadcasts will also be provided in eight different Aboriginal languages.
There will not be any fans at the ceremony-due to COVID-19 Tokyo is still in a state of emergency, spectators are prohibited from entering all venues-but it is expected that approximately 10,000 IOC members, government officials and others will participate in the 68,000 Seats inside the Olympic Stadium.
It is not clear whether the number of participants in the ceremony will be limited due to the traditional national parade, which usually brings thousands of athletes into the stadium. Athletes are only allowed to enter the Olympic Village five days before the competition. Many athletes who participate in the competition a few days after the opening ceremony give priority to rest rather than competition.
Rowing duo Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle were the first Canadian pair to be awarded the title of standard bearer at the 1996 Atlanta closing ceremony. Figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier closed their flag bearers in Salt Lake City in 2002, and sled athletes Kailiie Humphries and Heather Moyse led the Canadian team to the end of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Before the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France, skier Nancy Greene (Nancy Greene) served as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony, the top 21 Canadian flag bearers for the opening ceremony were men.
Since then, Canadian men and women have shared the responsibilities equally, with 14 people per person.