For the 2nd consecutive Olympic Games, Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry has been given her nation’s opening ceremony flag bearing honors.
At 32 years old and heading to her 5th Olympic Games, Coventry is Zimbabwe’s most decorated female swimmer. After scoring a bronze in the 200m IM, silver in the 100m backstroke and gold in the 200m backstroke at the 2004 Games in Athens, Coventry followed her breakout performance up with three more silvers and a 2nd 200m backstroke gold while competing in Beijing.
Out of the pool, the SwimMAC Elite-trained athlete serves on a number of boards, such as the Athletes Commission, Olympic Solidarity, World Anti-Doping Agency, as well as the Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
In addition, the two-time Olympic gold medalist is currently serving an 8-year term on the International Olympic Committee and was also one of ten Zimbabweans to earn a prestigious Olympic Solidarity Scholarship for Rio, a fund designed to provide assistance for all the National Olympic Committees, particularly those with the greatest needs.
Coventry also launched her own “Kirsty Coventry Academy” last year, aimed at drowning prevention within her home country.
The African is one of several swimmers selected as their nation’s flag bearers in Rio, joining the likes of Federica Pellegrini of Italy, Stephanie Au of Hong Kong, and Oussama Mellouli from Tunisia.
Of the honor, in Coventry’s own words, she states, “I’m so proud to announce that I will be the ZIMBABWE FLAG-BEARER at the Opening Ceremony of the Rio2016 Olympics. Sport has the power to bring us together but our Flag has the power to keep us united. When I walk into the Olympic Stadium on 5 August 2016, the weight of our Flag will be heavy but it will be lifted with the hope of millions.”