Tokyo – Three-time Olympic team member in basketball Miranda Ayim and co-captain of the country’s men’s rugby sevens team, Nathan Hirayama, will be Team Canada’s flagbearers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. The news was unveiled in a special video from The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada on Monday (19 July).
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said it will be the first time that an athlete representing a team sport had been named as Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer. It will also be the first time that two athletes will march with the Canadian flag at a summer Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Tokyo 2020 will be the third and final Olympic Games for Ayim, who made her Olympic debut at London 2012. She announced she will be retiring after the Games.
The 33-year-old Ayim, who has been representing Canada internationally for 15 years, was also part of the Canadian team that captured gold on home soil at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
The team, ranked fourth in the world, will be going for the country’s first-ever medal in women’s basketball. In her final professional season with Basket Landes, Ayim helped the team win its first French League title in May 2021.
“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,” said Ayim.
“The past year and a half demanded a high level of teamwork and Canadians from coast-to-coast demonstrated togetherness, camaraderie and sacrifice, true team spirit.”
Hirayama, who will be making his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, has been a key member of the Canadian sevens team since joining in 2006 as an 18 year old. He has competed in all three Pan American Games to include rugby sevens, winning two gold and one silver, and in three Commonwealth Games. This will be the first time Canada has a men’s rugby sevens team at the Olympic Games.
“I feel hugely honoured to be nominated to be the flag bearer alongside Miranda,” said Hirayama. “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. 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.”