Opening ceremony: Flag-bearers - who to see from other nations
Friday 27 July 2012
Tonight's spectacular opening ceremony of the London Olympics will be performed in front of a full house in the Olympic Stadium. Here is our guide to the flag-bearers.
Ireland: Katie Taylor (Boxing)
The current Irish, European, and world women's lightweight champion, and also a member of the Irish women's football team, Taylor will be the first female boxer to carry her nation's flag.
Italy: Valentina Vezzali (Fencing)
She is the most decorated Italian female athlete of all time, who has won five Olympic golds in various fencing events.
Malaysia: Pandelela Rinong (Diving)
The 19-year-old won bronze in the 10m synchro platform dive at the 2009 World Championships, and will serve as her country's first female flag-bearer.
Nicaragua: Michelle Richardson (Chef de Mission)
The Nicaraguan-born swimmer won silver for the United States at the 1984 Games after the Sandinista Government rejected her request to swim for her native country.
Russia: Maria Sharapova (Tennis)
Carrying the Russian flag on her Olympic debut, Sharapova has won each of tennis's four Grand Slam tournaments.
Serbia: Novak Djokovic (Tennis)
Until recently the world No 1, he has won five Grand Slams, is a three-time Australian Open champion, and won the men's bronze at the 2008 Olympics.
Singapore: Feng Tianwei (Table Tennis)
Currently ranked eighth in the world among women, she helped Singapore win their first Olympic medal as an independent nation in 2008: silver in the team competition.
South Africa: Caster Semenya (Athletics)
Following her women's 800m win at the 2009 World Championships, Semenya's gender was subject to scrutiny and testing from the IAAF. She was cleared to run in 2010 and won silver in the women's 800m at the 2011 Worlds.
Spain: Pau Gasol (Basketball)
The Los Angeles Lakers star was chosen to replace Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the Games with an injury. Gasol has won two NBA championships, Olympic silver in 2008, and is considered a basketball hero in his home country.
US: Mariel Zagunis (Fencing)
Chosen over many other high-profile American athletes, she is a chasing a third gold medal in women's individual sabre, having won at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
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