Sunday, February 5

Eve Muirhead and Dave Ryding are Team GB flag bearers at Beijing 2022


Eve Muirhead and Dave Ryding will share flag-bearing duties for Great Britain at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics in the famous ‘Bird’s Nest’ National Stadium on Friday.

Muirhead, a bronze medalist at Sochi 2014, and Ryding, who made history last month in Kitzbuehel as the first British athlete to win an alpine skiing World Cup, are both preparing to compete in their fourth Olympics.

Ryding said he was ‘beyond proud’ to be afforded the joint honour, and is relishing the experience of taking part in his first ceremony given schedules that have ordinarily dictated his late arrival at the Games.



Eve Muirhead (above) has been named as one of Team GB's flag-bearers at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony


© Provided by Daily Mail
Eve Muirhead (above) has been named as one of Team GB’s flag-bearers at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony



Alpine skier Dave Ryding is the other British athlete with the joint-honour at the ceremony


© Provided by Daily Mail
Alpine skier Dave Ryding is the other British athlete with the joint-honour at the ceremony

The 35-year-old is aiming to make more history in Beijing, and is driven by the desire to win an Olympic medal for his assistant-coach Alain Baxter, who finished in the bronze medal position in Salt Lake City in 2002 before being controversially stripped for his use of a nasal inhaler.

‘I still remember watching him win the medal and it ignited something in me, whether it was passion or excitement,’ recalled Ryding.

‘Whatever I achieve, Alain for me will be above, because that is how you perceive your heroes. If he did n’t do what he did in Salt Lake, he who knows if I would have had the drive to do what I did in Kitzbuehel.

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‘What went on after that was crazily unfortunate and he was proven innocent. If I were to get a medal, the best thing I could do would be to cut it in half and give him half of it.’



The ceremony gets underground on Friday night at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium (above)


© Provided by Daily Mail
The ceremony gets underground on Friday night at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium (above)

Former world champion Muirhead returns with a relatively experienced rink to her fourth Games, but is convinced all three British curling teams – including mixed doubles pair Bruce Mouat and Jennifer Dodds – can make it on to the podium.

Mouat and Dodds, the defending doubles world champions, have made a strong start to their event, while Mouat’s men’s team are reigning world silver medalists and strongly fancied for a medal.

Muirhead said: ‘Bruce and Jen have made a fantastic start and they’re definitely going in there as the world champions with form, so I don’t see why there’s anything to stop us coming away with three medals.

‘Of course it’s going to be tough, but we know Bruce and his men’s team are I think the best in the world right now, so they’ll fight for medals and we are also capable of beating any team in the world.’



Ryding (above) is hoping to become the first British Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal


© Provided by Daily Mail
Ryding (above) is hoping to become the first British Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal



Curling icon Muirhead (above) is competing in her fourth Winter Olympic Games campaign


© Provided by Daily Mail
Curling icon Muirhead (above) is competing in her fourth Winter Olympic Games campaign

Muirhead admitted having plenty of doubts about her ability to reach a fourth Games, having missed out on automatic qualification via the World Championships and needing to fight through a nail-biting qualifying tournament to secure her place.

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But she said the challenges would make her participation in Beijing – and the honor of carrying the flag – all the more memorable.

Muirhead added: ‘To be asked to be one of the flagbearers at the opening ceremony is honestly a dream come true and something I never thought I would do.

‘I never thought I’d go to a fourth Olympics either. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster to get here. I feel very honored and privileged to carry the flag and it will be a memory I’ll never forget.’

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