Ben Ainslie open to taking part in London 2012 ceremony

Ainslie says he may march in the London 2012 opening ceremony if his competition schedule permits

ben ainslie
Ainslie is the first British athlete to be confirmed on the team sheet for 2012 Photo: onEdition

ben ainslie

Ben Ainslie has refused to rule out taking part in next year’s London 2012 opening ceremony – making the three-time Olympic champion sailor an early frontrunner to carry the British flag.

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has already stated he does not expect any track and field athletes to take part, while Britain’s swimmers are in action the following day and have traditionally always swerved the ceremonial showpiece.

And four-time Olympic champion cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, another candidate for carrying the flag, has previously said he would follow his routine from three previous Games and wait until the closing ceremony to march.

Ainslie’s competition will be staged 143 miles away from east London in Weymouth but his opening race is not scheduled until two days later.

Who carries the flag is decided by a vote of the team and Ainslie, who would become the most successful Olympic sailor in history if he added to his collection of three Olympic golds and one silver, would be a popular choice.

“If it fits with the schedule it would be great to be there and experience. I went to Sydney and the ceremony was amazing,” said Ainslie, who was officially named as one of the first 11 athletes selected for next year’s 550-strong British team.

“A home Games is very special and it would be amazing to be part of the atmosphere of an opening ceremony, although the main goal is to make sure that I’m 100 per-cent prepared for my competition.”

© Sportsbeat 2011

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