The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced Olympic champion Isabelle Weidemann as Team Canada’s Beijing 2022 Closing Ceremony flag bearer. The two-time Olympian in long track speed skating won gold, silver and bronze to contribute to Canada’s 25 current overall medals.
“It’s such an honour to be carrying the Canadian flag in the Closing Ceremony. It’s just been a crazy end to such an unbelievable week. I’m so proud to be a member of this team,” said Weidemann. “I don’t know how many times this week that I’ve shared in other people’s joy and shared in sadness as well. It’s been so incredible to just watch everyone do their best. I love the Olympic Games. I love being part of the Canadian team.
“We may have been far apart from support back home, from family, from friends, but thank you to everyone cheering across the country. We felt that support and I’m so proud to contribute to that inspiration and to be part of the team that has helped bring happiness back to Canada.”
Weidemann’s first medal, a bronze in the women’s 3000m, kickstarted Team Canada’s success in Beijing. It was both the nation’s first medal at Beijing 2022 and its 200th all-time medal at the Olympic Winter Games. Her success continued at the Ice Ribbon on Day 6, becoming Canada’s first double medallist at these Games after claiming silver in the 5000m. The 26-year-old capped off her impressive run by winning the women’s team pursuit on Day 11 alongside teammates Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais in an Olympic record time of 2:53.44.
“A very special moment for me at these Games was asking Isabelle if she would be willing to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony and represent all 215 athletes who wore the maple leaf with pride in Beijing,” said Catriona Le May Doan, Team Canada’s Chef de Mission. “She not only had incredible performances on the ice, she was also an amazing teammate through her support and positive attitude before, during and after competition. Not all the athletes are able to still be here on the ground to celebrate these successful 2022 Games, but I am confident that Isabelle represents our Canadian values and the qualities that all of Team Canada demonstrated on and off the field of play in Beijing.”
With medal events still scheduled to take place on Day 16, Canada entered the day sitting third for total medals earned so far.
“I am incredibly proud of this remarkable group of Canadian athletes. They arrived in Beijing ready to not only compete but adapt with a relentless determination to overcome whatever came their way,” said COC Chief Sport Officer, Eric Myles. “Isabelle is a testament to that resilience and her brilliant performances and positivity throughout these Games were an inspiration to all Canadians. I look forward to having her lead us into the Closing Ceremony to culminate her memorable run at Beijing 2022.”
Team Canada’s Beijing 2022 Opening Ceremony flag bearers, Marie-Philip Poulin and Charles Hamelin, will return home adding to their already impressive resumes.
On the way to leading the women’s hockey team to its fifth Olympic gold medal, Poulin became the only player, male or female, to score in four Olympic gold medal games. She has scored seven of Canada’s last 10 goals in women’s Olympic gold-medal games.
With a gold medal in the men’s 5000m relay, Hamelin became the first male short track speed skater to win a medal in five different Olympic Winter Games and the most decorated Canadian in the sport. He is tied as Canada’s most decorated Winter Olympian with Cindy Klassen and as the country’s most decorated male Olympian with Andre De Grasse.
“Our flag bearer has been a shining star at these Games both on and off the ice,” said COC President and four-time Olympian, Tricia Smith. “Isabelle’s accomplishments, particularly with her teammates in the women’s team pursuit, exemplify the story of many on this team, the challenges they faced and their remarkable adaptability. And win or lose, our athletes on ice and snow have shown who we are as Canadians. They have inspired us, gotten us up early and made us stay up way too late. The Closing Ceremony with Isabelle as our flag bearer will be a celebration of the unique and amazing journeys of all of our incredible athletes.”
A recap of Team Canada’s performance at Beijing 2022 will be published following the end of the final competition later today.
Catriona Le May Doan offered these final thoughts as Team Canada’s Chef de Mission:
“The honour to be chosen as the leader of Canada’s Olympic team is something I will never forget and the experience at these Games have been life changing. Like in Tokyo, the role of Chef took on new meaning without friends and family at Games. I did my best to visit every venue and be where Team Canada’s loved ones couldn’t be, but I can say without a doubt that Canada’s athletes had so much support from their peers and our Mission Team, that this became the most tight knit team I’ve been a part of. It didn’t matter where people came from or what their background was, they supported each other through the highs and lows of the Games, which is what the Games are supposed to be about. I hope a little bit of that spirit makes its way home and around the world, and people remember that there is so much more that unites than divides us. Perhaps the best symbol of that is the drum gifted to the Team from Maskwacis Cree Nation, which was with me at every venue and could be felt and heard everywhere as the heartbeat of Team Canada here in Beijing and by everyone back home.”
Story and Photo: Canadian Olympic Committee