Canada Miranda Ayim, Nathan Hirayama will be Canada’s flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympics

17:18  19 july  2021
17:18  19 july  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Miranda Ayim, a three-time Olympic women's basketball player, and men's rugby sevens co-captain Nathan Hirayama will be Canada's flag-bearers at the Tokyo Olympics.

a group of men playing a game of football: Canadian women's basketball player Miranda Ayim (left) and men's rugby sevens co-caption Nathan Hirayama (right) will be Canada's flag-bearers for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS. © Provided by Global News Canadian women's basketball player Miranda Ayim (left) and men's rugby sevens co-caption Nathan Hirayama (right) will be Canada's flag-bearers for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS.

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced the decision on Monday as the clock ticks down to the start of the Olympics, which were delayed last year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Events begin in less than one week, with restrictions in place on spectators, officials and athletes as Japan attempts to limit the spread of the virus among the thousands of international athletes and officials arriving for the Games.

Team Canada selects Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama as Olympic flag-bearers

  Team Canada selects Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama as Olympic flag-bearers Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama will share flag-bearer honours for Team Canada at Friday’s opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics. Ayim has been a mainstay for the national women’s basketball program and will be competing at the Summer Games for the third time in her career, while Hirayama is co-captain of the men’s rugby sevens squad. “They embody the resilience, perseverance and excellence of Team Canada,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in unveiling the news in a video on social media.

In a press release, the Canadian Olympic Committee said the naming of Ayim and Hirayama marked two important firsts "in a year when Canadians embraced the spirit of teamwork and joined together to face generation-defining challenges."

"Tokyo 2020 is the first summer Games where an athlete representing a team sport has been named as Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer," the committee said. "It also is the first time that two athletes will march with the Canadian flag at a summer Games Opening Ceremony."

Canada is sending a record number of athletes -- 370 -- to compete in the Games.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his congratulations in a recorded virtual message streamed by the Canadian Olympic Committee during the flag-bearer announcement.

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He said the Games this year will not only celebrate the accomplishments of athletes, but of "collective resilience" after more than a year of the global fight against COVID-19.

"These Olympic Games will serve to remind us of the power sports can have in our lives," he said.

Ayim is set to retire after the Tokyo Olympics, which will be her third. She was part of the Canadian team that won gold in the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015, and has been competing for Canada internationally for 15 years.

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“I feel incredibly honoured to lead Team Canada alongside Nathan into the Opening Ceremony and to be representing not only my fellow athletes of Team Canada, but also the greater Team Canada: our nation,” Ayim said in a press release from the committee.

“The past year and a half demanded a high level of teamwork and Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast demonstrated togetherness, camaraderie and sacrifice — true team spirit.”

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Hirayama will be competing in his first Olympic Games in Tokyo. It is also the first time Canada will have a men's rugby sevens team at the Olympics, according to the committee.

“I’ve been watching the Olympics for my entire life and understand the honour and privilege that comes with being the flag bearer. It’s something that I’ve never even dreamt of," Hirayama said in the statement released by the committee. "I’m extremely excited to get to Tokyo with my team. We’ve been working hard together for a long time and can’t wait for our opportunity to show the world what we can do.”

Games officials said around 11,500 athletes are expected in Japan to compete, while another estimated 79,000 journalists, officials and staff are also expected to be in attendance.

Masks will be mandatory for everyone in attendance.

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According to the Tokyo Olympics Playbook obtained by Global News, athletes travelling to attend will be required to show two separate, negative COVID-19 test result certificates before they even set foot in Tokyo, including one within 96 hours of departure and another within 72 hours. They will also be expected to download and activate one app that will monitor their location and be used for contact tracing, and another that will send out daily temperature and health check reports.

Athletes will be tested upon arrival and will have their temperatures checked each time they enter an Olympic venue. Masks are required for the duration of the Games, and athletes will be required to replace masks as soon as they become damp and to wash them once a day.

Both Ayim and Hirayama told reporters who asked about the COVID-19 restrictions in place that they feel safe with the guidance and rules for the Olympic Village and travel, and "trust the protocols."

Organizers said as of Sunday they had identified three COVID-19 cases among athletes and roughly 10 cases among the media, contractors and other personnel supporting the games.

Meanwhile, infection rates continue to rise in the Japanese capital.

—With files from Global's Emerald Bensadoun.

Tokyo Olympics Full TV & Streaming Schedule: How To Watch Everything, Including The Women’s Swimming & Woman’s Gymnastics Team Finals – Updated .
UPDATED with schedule changes: NBCUniversal is airing programming from the Tokyo Olympic Games across a wide swath of its broadcast, cable and digital properties, the programming schedules for which are constantly shifting this year. Deadline is updating this list daily from multiple official sources. See schedule below for full event listings. NBCU’s Peacock streaming service launched a Tokyo Olympics destination on July 15 that features extensive live coverage of some the Games’ biggest events including Gymnastics, Track and Field and the U.S.’s pursuit of its fourth straight gold medal in Men’s basketball.

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