On Thursday July 12, 2012 triathlete Simon Whitfield was officially named to carry the flag at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Whitfield has won two Olympic medals in triathlon and was chosen from among the 277 athletes who will be representing Canada in London.
Canadians who were tuned in to the first ever Olympic Triathlon in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 were treated to one of the most exciting gold medal performances ever by a Canadian Olympic athlete.
Late into the race it looked for all the world like Whitfield was going to settle for the silver medal as Stephan Vuckovic of Germany seemed to have the gold medal won.
However Vuckovic made a classic mistake that may have made the difference.
He looked back at his pursuer and it seemed to be a signal for Simon to go for it and in the final kilometer he blew by Vuckovic to take the first ever Olympic Triathlon gold medal
Whitfield posted a spectacular run split of 30:53:73 and that was what made the difference as Vuckovic posted a time of 31:09:89 in the run.
His silver medal performance in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was just as spectacular. During the run Whitfield was a distant fourth in the closing kilometers of the race and looked to be out of medal contention.
In the final 200 meters he unleashed an amazing kick and burst into the lead. In the final strides it was Jan Frodeno of Germany who had the best finish of all and took the gold medal by five seconds.
It was a highlight of Simon Whitfield's career to have Olympic swimmer and Canada's Chef de Mission Mark Tewksbury make the official announcement that he would be the Olympic flag-bearer for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Whitfield had this to say during a media conference.
“Mark was one of my idols,” Whitfield said on a media conference call after his selection was formally announced on Parliament Hill on Thursday.
"I remember Mark winning medals and reading his book. I was actually talking to Mark Tewksbury, ‘Man, this is Mark Tewksbury on the phone.’ I was a little overwhelmed.”
This will be the fourth Olympic Games for Simon Whitfield and most likely his last as his career begins to wind down.