Alia Atkinson, the only swimmer representing Jamaica at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, will carry the flag for her home country in Wednesday’s opening ceremonies at the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia. She will be one of 71 athletes carrying their nation’s flags into the opening ceremonies, which are expected to draw a sell-out crowd to its temporary Games capacity of 35,000.
Atkinson joins Jazz Carlin (Wales) and Sophie Pascoe (New Zealand) as swimmers announced to carry their countries’ flags, though several still have not revealed their bearers. Canadian diver Meaghan Benefeito will carry her country’s flag, representing the only other aquatics sport held at the Commonwealth Games.
This will be Atkinson’s 4th Commonwealth Games, having made her debut in 2006 at just 17-years old. Back then, she was primarily a butterflier (she set the 100 fly Jamaican Record in her debut), and while still one of the more versatile sprinters in the world, she’s now best-known as a breaststroker. That includes winning World Short Course gold at the 2014 and 2016 World Championships; silver and bronze in the 50 and 100 breaststroke respectively at long course Worlds in 2015; and finishing 4th at the 2012 London Olympics in the 100 breaststroke. Atkinson has competed in 4 Olympic Games: 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.
She’s entered to swim the 50 breast, 100 breast, and 50 fly at this year’s Commonwealth Games. Her two prior Commonwealth Games medals both were earned in Glasgow in 2014, where she took silver in the 50 breaststroke and bronze in the 100.