Beijing | When the phones of Mary Philip Boleyn and Charles Hamlin rang in mid-January in order to organize a leadership meeting with Catriona Le Mai Doan, the players made a quick calculation and guessed the unreasonable.
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Lee Mai Duan, the former speed skater, triple Olympic medalist and head of the Canadian expedition in Beijing, has yet to reveal the greatest state secrets to the athletes from Quebec.
She wanted to tell them that she would designate them as flag bearers at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in China.
The Quebec athletes clearly jumped for joy and shed tears when they immediately thought of everyone who had gone before them to enter the world’s stadiums.
Since then, the goal has been to keep the matter a secret. When you put the pandemic’s strict restrictions to the test, that teams are caged in specific places and that they must stay healthy until their destination, that’s a real run. The news could have been inadvertently leaked prior to Wednesday’s announcement.
“The more you go, the bigger the smiles,” admitted three-time Olympic medalist Sidney Crosby, Mary Philip Boleyn. It’s hard to keep a secret as a group when we’re always together and tightly knit together. We share a lot of information.
She continued, “When the topic of flag bearers came to the table with my teammates, I tried to take myself out of the conversation. When I told them recently, they appreciated it even more.”
Hamlin also didn’t want to pour out the beans too early. He requested an Xth team meeting, infuriating his teammates, and announced the good news. However, it will be worth it.
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At 37 and his last games, Hamlin intends to embrace the moment. As soon as Le May Doan called him, with tears in his eyes, the Olympian with three gold ornaments saw himself entering the field at the head of his national team.
The skater has experienced entry to athletes in three of his four games at the Games without dreaming of the mission and meaning that awaits him tomorrow in “Bird’s Nest”.
“For me, I have always viewed this role as an icon. Just being in the games this year is a surprise. Representing one of the leaders of the Canadian team, I take this role very seriously.”
Hamlin is one of 45 of the 240 athletes in the delegation who have taken the Olympic podium. With his five medals, including three golds, he will guide among others 117 recruits who can live this dream in four, eight, or even 12 years.
“I could not have carried this flag with anyone other than Mary Philip. She is a great athlete and a wonderful person.”
On their ice, Hamlin and Pauline stood out brilliantly in Vancouver. The former won two gold medals in less than 30 minutes on the short track and the other scored both goals in the final against the Americans.
This tandem, which unites longevity and excellence, makes them walk hand in hand at the National Stadium tomorrow. They have nothing to envy about other couples in Canadian Winter Games history.
It is no secret that they are among the greatest athletes in the country.
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