Aus athlete threatens to boycott Olympics opening
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 6:29p.m.
By Rachel Morton
An Australian Olympian has threatened to boycott the opening ceremony if a man is chosen to carry the flag.
Only three women have had the honour of carrying the flag for Australia in the opening ceremony, and it has been 20 years since it last happened.
Beach volleyballer Natalie Cook has represented Australia at the Olympics five times, and says she will protest if she has to walk behind a male flag-bearer again.
“It’s a no-brainer. If it’s a male who carries the flag I will sit in protest,” she says.
She even has a suggestion for a female who could carry the flag instead.
“I’ve been practicing the flag carrying just in case and I’ve been dreaming about it and the wave to the royal box, so I would love the honour, and obviously that would be one of the highlights of my career."
The uproar follows claims of sexism at Basketball Australia – the men flew to London in business class while the women were in premium economy.
Australia’s chef de mission Nick Green has not yet decided who will carry the flag but says he will not be basing his decision on gender.
“The flag bearer will be the best person to represent this country. Simple as that,” says Mr Green.
It is not the only issue Cook is outspoken about - she has also expressed her disappointment at not being able to wear a bikini for her first game.
Because of broadcasting timetables the game will be played at 11pm, so it will be too cold for the tiny two-piece.
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