Women's soccer star Christine Sinclair was named Tuesday to be Canada's flag-bearer for this month's Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Sinclair, 28, is the captain and all-time leading goal scorer for the women's national team. The Burnaby, B.C., native played for Canada in the last three FIFA Women's World Cups and the 2008 Olympics.
"I'm honoured and deeply moved to have been chosen as Canada's flag-bearer," Sinclair said in a statement released by the Canadian Olympic committee, which is overseeing the country's delegation for the Pan Am Games. "On behalf of the entire team, I will proudly wave the Canadian flag and represent our country in a way that makes the entire country proud."
Sinclair helped her team win the bronze medal at the last Pan Am Games, held in 2007 in Rio. She scored the opening goal in Canada's 2-1 victory over Mexico in the third-place match.
Canada lost its chance to play for gold when it fell 2-1 to the United States in the semifinals.
"We were disappointed with that," Sinclair said in an interview Tuesday with CBC News Network. "We're determined to do better this time around."
Sinclair added that the Pan Am Games, which open Oct. 14, offer a chance for the team to rebound from its disappointing showing at this summer's World Cup. Canada lost all three of its group-stage matches after entering the tournament as the No. 6-ranked team in the world.
"With the London Olympics coming up next summer, we need to improve, and the Pan Am Games is the perfect place to do that," she said.
Held every four years since their inception in 1951, the Pan Am Games feature athletes from North, Central and South America. This year's event is expected to draw some 6,000 athletes from 42 countries to compete in 39 sports, and is part of the qualifying process for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Canada is sending a team of 493 athletes to Guadalajara, with representatvies from each of the 10 provinces and the Northwest Territories. The complete roster was released during Tuesday's media conference in Toronto.
At the 2007 Games in Rio, Canada finished third in the overall medal count with 138, including 39 gold. The United States led the way with 237 medals, followed by host Brazil (157), Canada and Cuba (135).
Toronto will host the next Pan Am Games, in 2015.