Jon Eley given honour of Team GB Flagbearer at Sochi 2014
Today it was announced by the British Olympic Association that GB Short Track’s most experience Olympian, Jon Eley, is to carry the flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Eley, 29, was nominated by winter sports Team leaders and selected by a panel which included Team GB Ambassadors Amy Williams and Robin Cousins, and Olympic curler Jackie Lockhart, as the athlete that best typifies the One Team GB Values: Performance, Responsibility, Unity, Pride and Respect.
Jon, who is originally from Solihull, said: “To be representing Team GB for my third time is a great honour and being selected as the Flagbearer has made it unbelievable. Carrying the flag, I hope will not only be a very proud moment for my wife, my family and myself but also my teammates and my sport, who have all made a massive contribution to my career.
“It is an amazing privilege and a moment that I will treasure for the rest of my life, and I plan to use this opportunity to fuel my ambitions in competition and encourage my team mates to be their best, ensuring that this is just the start of a very successful Games for myself and the rest of Team GB.”
Jon has already competed at two Olympic Winter Games, including Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010, where he finished 5th and 6threspectively in the 500m. During his career he has also won World Cup and European Championship medals, as well as breaking the world record with the British men’s relay team in 2011.
Performance Director Stuart Horsepool said: “Being Flagbearer is a fantastic honour for any athlete and I am absolutely delighted for Jon. He embodies the principle of ‘One Team GB’ and although he’s been selected for the role in Sochi, he’s been a Flagbearer and a leader for short track for the past two Olympic cycles.”
Horsepool added: “To finish in the top 8 at two consecutive Olympic Winter Games in a sport that is notoriously unpredictable is a testimony to him as an athlete. Since Vancouver he’s had some injury set-backs that he has had to overcome, so his dedication and hard work to get to this point makes him very deserving.”
Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay for Sochi 2014 added: “Jon is an excellent choice to lead Team GB out in Sochi and we are very proud to have him carry the flag. He is widely-respected by his teammates on Team GB as well as his short track counterparts, and I’d like to congratulate him on being chosen at the Flagbearer.”
Jon’s coach, Nicky Gooch, was the last short track athlete to carry the flag at a Winter Olympics, having been selected as Flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony of the 1994 Games in Lillehammer after he won a bronze medal in the 500m.
The Opening Ceremony will take place at Fisht Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park, beginning at 16:14 GMT, and will officially mark the start the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
The short track programme at Sochi 2014 begins on Monday 10 February with the men’s 1500m featuring Jack Whelbourne, and the women’s 500m featuring Elise Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin.
For more details on GB Short Track and its athletes at Sochi 2014, please visit www.gbshorttrack.org/index.php?p=1_40