Saville to carry Aussie flag at Games - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saville to carry Aussie flag at Games

By Mike Hedge 13/03/2006 10:00:18 PM Comments (0)

Walker Jane Saville hopes the opportunity to lead Australia onto the MCG in Wednesday's Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will help ease the pain of her worst moment in sport.

At the last big Games held in Australia, the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Saville arrived at the tunnel leading into Stadium Australia with an Olympic gold medal almost hanging around her neck.

When she emerged from the tunnel, she was in tears, her dream shattered by a judge who disqualified her for "lifting".

She said the memory of that tragedy in Sydney would never leave her and that she could never be compensated for being robbed of an Olympic title.

"It's always with me, it's a part of me," Saville said.

But she said being named as Australia's flag bearer might help ease the pain.

"They are two completely different scenarios," she said.

"This one is more stressful in some ways ... I don't want to stuff it up.

"But at least there won't be any judges there to worry about how I'm walking or my technique."

Saville, who was a Commonwealth champion from the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games leading into the Sydney disaster, has since won an Olympic bronze medal in Athens and a second Commonwealth gold in Manchester in 2002.

In Melbourne she will be aiming to win her third straight Commonwealth title.

In all but one of the 17 Commonwealth Games held so far, the Australian flag bearer has gone on to win a gold medal.

Australia's tradition of flag bearers becoming Commonwealth champions began with the legendary rower Bobby Pearce in Hamilton, Canada at the first Commonwealth Games in 1930.

The most recent flag bearer to win gold was weightlifter Damian Brown in Manchester.

The only time the system failed was in 1978 in Edmonton when the cycling brothers Remo and Salvatore Sansonetti, who jointly carried the flag, missed out.

Meanwhile, butterfly swimmer Adam Pine will swear the oath on behalf of all the Games athletes at the opening ceremony.

The only Australian swimmer to have competed at four Commonwealth Games, Pine said he would now have to practise his oratory skills.

"I'll have to polish my English a little bit and be ready to say the right words with the correct accent," Pine said.

"I'm really looking forward to it."

Pine won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay team at the Sydney Olympics.

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