The Greek flag bearers for the Tokyo Olympics were announced late on Wednesday, with the country being represented by shooter Anna Korakaki and gymnast Lefteris Petrounias.
This year will be the first time in Olympic Games history that Greece will participate with two flag bearers, following the recent decision by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee which allows countries to pick both a male and a female representative.
Meet the Greek flag bearers for the Tokyo Olympics
The Hellenic Olympic Committee met for a Plenary Session in order to decide on the athletes that would have the honor of carrying the Greek flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games.
They decided unanimously that Korakaki, an accomplished shooter, and Petrounias, a gymnast, would share the privilege.
“The Hellenic Olympic Committee has given me a really big honor and I want to thank them for choosing me. It will definitely be a unique feeling to hold the flag of my homeland at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in a historic moment, as I will do it together with Lefteris,” said Korakaki when she heard the news.
Petrounias echoed her sentiments, announcing, “I feel very honored to hold our flag — a dream I had as a child come true! I also want to thank the Greek Olympic Committee and I am sure that this moment will remain forever engraved in my mind and heart.”
During the same meeting, the Hellenic Olympic Committee decided that the selection process for Men’s cross-country cycling will occur through a race at the Panhellenic Championship on July 10. There, the two athletes vying for the spot, Dimitris Antoniadis and Periklis Elias, will endeavour to prove that they deserve to go to Tokyo.
Two very impressive athletes
Petrounias has had a long and awe-inspiring athletic career, and most recently overcame a serious shoulder injury in order to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
The 31-year-old Greek gymnast is the 2016 Olympic champion, three-time World champion (2015, 2017, 2018) and a six-time (2011, 2015-18, 2021) European medalist on the still rings, where he walked away with five gold medals and one bronze.
Petrounias was the first torch bearer for the Olympic torch relay after the flame was ignited at Olympia on April 21, 2016.
At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the gymnast, known as the “Lord of the Rings,” qualified for the rings final in second place with a score of 15.833.
Korakaki is another very successful Greek athlete, having broken multiple records during her career. At just 20 years of age, she represented Greece in the 2016 Rio Olympics — and while there she left judges and spectators awe-struck, winning gold in the 25m pistol and a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol shooting.
She won the first gold medal for Greece since the nation hosted the Olympics back in 2004. She also became the first Greek woman to win two Olympic medals in the same competition ever and was the first Greek athlete to do so — regardless of gender — since 1912.