Anna Meares, Australia’s gold medal winning track cyclist champion will be the standard bearer for the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony for the Summer Olympic Games to be held Friday August 5 to Sunday August 21 at Rio de Janeiro, 2016.
It is both an honour and a privilege superbly earned.
Olympic arenas have become precincts of power and glory down the centuries since the establishment of the games in ancient Greece when citizens strove to please the ‘Olympian Gods, who lived on Mount Olympus in northern Greece.
It was an honour for the ‘good men’ of their polis who were equally active as an athlete, philosopher, judge, poet, or at any other worthy pursuit.
At the ancient Olympic games as it is today, public honour and private honour was intimately related.
Athletes were to be truthful, trustworthy, courteous and courageous, polite to their enemies and respectful of the rights of others. They understood that their body was improved by healthy exercise and that their soul benefited from morally right behaviour, the soul regarded as the source of life.
Generous with their possessions and immune to a temptation to cheat, athletes also prescribed to the maxim of ‘nothing in excess’ with goodness or arête an intrinsic excellence that existed in all people and all things.
“Traditionally longevity has played a big role in the flagbearer” and so it needs to be someone who represents “the epitome of the values our team stands for – humility, respect and excellence’’ said Australia’s 2016 Chef de mission Kitty Chiller, when announcing the appointment in Melbourne’s Federation Square.
How globe trotting Australian singer-songwriter performance artist Peter Allen would have loved to be around to play his famous song I go to Rio, as a celebration of all our Olympic athlete’s sporting achievements.
Watch Peter Allen Singing I Go to Rio...