PyeongChang 2018 Team Canada Opening CeremonyPhoto: Jason Ransom/COC
Photo: Jason Ransom/COC

Team Canada’s Olympic Winter Games flag bearers

Representing their country as a flag bearer and leading their team into an Olympic Opening Ceremony is one of the greatest honours imaginable for an Olympian.

Here is a look at who has carried the maple leaf for Team Canada at past Olympic Winter Games.

PyeongChang 2018

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Figure Skating

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are announced as the flag bearers for Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018. (Photo: Chris Gordaneer)

The first pair of athletes to ever lead Team Canada into an Olympic Opening Ceremony, it was a wonderful way to celebrate the two-decade partnership of Virtue and Moir. At Vancouver 2010, they became the first North Americans to ever win Olympic ice dance gold and were also the youngest ever Olympic champions in their event. After two silver medals at Sochi 2014, they took a two-year hiatus from competition before returning to win their third career world title in 2017. That set them up for their career-defining performance at PyeongChang 2018 where they won two gold medals to become the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.

Sochi 2014

Hayley Wickenheiser, Ice Hockey

Team Canada - Hayley Wickenheiser at Sochi 2014.
Team Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer, Hayley Wickenheiser, at Sochi 2014. (COC Photo)

In her fifth Olympic Winter Games appearance, the former captain and all-time leading scorer for Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team led Team Canada into the Fisht Olympic Stadium. She went on to score two goals and add three assists as the Canadian women won their fourth straight Olympic gold medal. That gave Wickenheiser and teammates Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette more gold medals than anyone else in Canadian Olympic history.

Vancouver 2010

Clara Hughes, Long Track Speed Skating

Canada’s Clara Hughes carries the flag during the opening ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

A dual-season Olympian and the only athlete in history to win multiple medals at both the Summer and Winter Games was chosen to lead in Team Canada on home soil at Vancouver 2010. Hughes went in as the reigning Olympic champion in her signature event, the 5000m. She had what she called one of the best races in her life at the Richmond Olympic Oval to win the bronze medal and tie Cindy Klassen as Canada’s most decorated Olympian of all-time.

Turin 2006

Danielle Goyette, Ice Hockey

Danielle Goyette leads the Canadian team into the stadium during opening ceremony for Turin 2006. (CP PHOTO/Paul Chiasson)

A member of Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team since 1991, by 2006 Goyette had played in more world championships than any other Canadian hockey player and had won 21 international medals, including 17 gold. She was also renowned for her charitable work, including countless hours spent helping troubled teens and less fortunate families in the Calgary area, which made her an ideal choice to carry the flag. Having turned 40 just days before the start of the Games, she added another gold to her collection, scoring four goals and two assists as Canada went undefeated in the tournament.

Salt Lake City 2002

Catriona Le May Doan, Long Track Speed Skating

Catriona Le May Doan leads Team Canada into the opening ceremony at Salt Lake City 2002. (COC Photo)

Le May Doan carried the Canadian flag out at Nagano 1998 after winning gold in the 500m and bronze in the 1000m. She then became the first woman to skate the 500m in under 38 seconds and broke her own world record five times in the next four years while winning three world titles in the distance. Those achievements led to her carrying the flag into Salt Lake City 2002, where she became the first Canadian athlete to ever successfully defend Olympic gold in an individual event.

Nagano 1998

Jean-Luc Brassard, Freestyle Skiing

Jean-Luc Brassard carries the flag as the Canadian team participates in the opening ceremony at the Nagano 1998 Olympic Games. (CP Photo/ COC)

A member of the legendary “Quebec Air Force”, Brassard joined the Canadian National Freestyle Ski team at the age of 17. At Lillehammer 1994 he became Canada’s first Olympic champion in freestyle skiing when he won moguls gold. As the reigning world champion and overall World Cup champion, he was named Opening Ceremony flag bearer for Nagano 1998. He went on to finish fourth, missing the podium by just a quarter of a point.

Here are all of the other athletes who have served as Team Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearers at the Olympic Winter Games:

Lillehammer 1994Kurt Browning – Figure Skating
Albertville 1992Sylvie Daigle – Short Track Speed Skating
Calgary 1988Brian Orser – Figure Skating
Sarajevo 1984Gaétan Boucher – Long Track Speed Skating
Lake Placid 1980Ken Read – Alpine Skiing
Innsbruck 1976David Irwin – Alpine Skiing
Sapporo 1972Karen Magnussen – Figure Skating
Grenoble 1968Nancy Greene – Alpine Skiing
Innsbruck 1964Ralf Olin – Long Track Speed Skating
Squaw Valley 1960Robert Paul – Figure Skating
Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956Norris Bowden – Figure Skating
Oslo 1952Gordon Audley – Long Track Speed Skating
St. Moritz 1948Hubert Brooks – Ice Hockey
Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936Walter Kitchen – Ice Hockey
Lake Placid 1932Harold Simpson – Ice Hockey
St. Moritz 1928John Porter – Ice Hockey
Chamonix 1924Ernest Collett – Ice Hockey