Cindy Klassen Named Canada’s Flag Bearer for 2006 Olympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced today that it has achieved its goal of a top three finish in the overall medal standings at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Chef de Mission Shane Pearsall and Assistant Chef de Mission Sylvie Bernier also announced that long track speed skater and five-time 2006 Olympic medallist Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, Man.) has been named Canada’s flag bearer for this evening’s closing ceremony.

“I am honoured to be selected as Canada’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games,” said Klassen. “Over the past 16 days we’ve had some outstanding performances by Canadian athletes and it is truly overwhelming to be selected as the flag bearer amidst the most successful Canadian Olympic Winter Games team ever.”

By capturing five medals at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Klassen became the first Canadian ever to win more than three medals at a single Olympic Games. A bronze medallist at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Klassen’s career total of six Olympic medals is the most ever for a Canadian Olympic athlete.

“With her five podium performances in Turin, Cindy Klassen has cemented her reputation as one of Canada’s greatest Olympians,” said Pearsall. “Led by Cindy, Canada’s athletes recorded a best ever medal performance for Canada at these Games. The 2006 Olympic Winter Games have been a huge step forward for high-performance sport in our country and I am truly proud to have been the Chef de Mission for Canada during these Games.”

Klassen was chosen as Canada’s closing ceremony flag bearer by Pearsall and Bernier following informal discussions with athletes and coaches in the three Olympic villages.

Previous Canadian Olympic Winter Games closing ceremony flag bearers include:

  • Jamie Salé (Salt Lake City 2002, figure skating, Red Deer, Alta.) and David Pelletier (Salt Lake City 2002, figure skating, Lachine, Que.)
  • Catriona Le May Doan (Nagano 1998, long track speed skating, Saskatoon, Sask.)
  • Myriam Bédard (Lillehammer 1994, biathlon, Loretteville, Que.)
  • Nathalie Lambert (Albertville 1992, short track speed skating, Montreal, Que.)
  • and Karen Percy (Calgary 1988, alpine skiing, Banff, Alta.).

Canada concluded the 2006 Olympic Winter Games with a record of 24 podium finishes – seven gold, 10 silver and seven bronze – placing third overall in the medal count. Four years ago, Canada captured 17 medals and finished fourth overall at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

“The 2006 Olympic Winter Games have been a great success for Canada,” said COC President Michael Chambers. “We set an aggressive goal of a top-three finish at these Games and we will leave Turin having achieved that goal. All of Canada’s athletes turned in an exceptional performance at these Games and they have made all Canadians proud.”

Since the launch of the Own The Podium – 2010 program in January 2005, the COC has worked together with Canada’s winter sport partners and National Sport Federations to initiate a number of new high-performance initiatives designed to increase podium success for Canada at the Olympic Winter Games.

Among some of the notable high-performance benchmarks Canada achieved at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games are:

  • A total of 58 top-eight finishes – 12 more than at the conclusion of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Overall, Canada finished third in top-eight performances at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games behind Germany and the United States of America which recorded 72 and 68 respectively.
  • A total of 21 Canadians placed fourth or fifth at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. In addition, of the 21 athletes, 19 are under 30 years of age and will remain contenders for a podium result at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
  • A tie with Germany for the most number of top-four and top-five finishes at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games with 37 and 45 respectively.
  • Producing a medallist in 10 of the 15 2006 Olympic Winter sports – the most out of any nation competing at the Games.

“When examining Canada’s performance at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games it is clear that several of our high-performance initiatives have had a direct and positive effect on Canada’s athletes”, said COC Director of High Performance Alex Gardiner. “Not only did we achieve our goal of a top-three finish but we also increased our medal total and had a significant number of top-eight finishes by athletes who have their best years ahead of them. While there is no question that the Canadian Olympic Committee has four more years of hard work ahead, Canada’s results in Turin are very encouraging heading into 2010.”