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Rosie MacLennan: Q & A with Canada's newest flag-bearer

Rosie MacLennan was officially named as Team Canada's flag-bearer for the opening ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She shared some of her thoughts following the announcement.

'It was hard to keep it a secret,' says defending gold medallist

Flag-bearer Rosie MacLennan will lead Canada's athletes into the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics on Aug. 5. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

By Matthew Cullen, CBC Sports

Rosie MacLennan, Canada's lone gold-medal winner at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will lead the Canadian squad into the opening ceremony to officially begin the Rio 2016 Games. 

The King City, Ont., native spoke to reporters via a conference call shortly after being named Canada's flag-bearer. 

What is the one thing or one person that will you be thinking of when you walk into the stadium carrying the Canadian flag? 

I don't know that there will be one person or one thing as I'm walking in. I'm think that I'm going to be thinking of the entire journey that it has taken to get there and everyone who has supported me along the way. It's been an entire network of people from my family, my friends, my coach who I've been with for 17 years, my trainer who I've been with for eight years, and all of the people who keep me healthy every day. So, not one person — probably not one thought. But I will be incredibly proud waving that flag and leading Team Canada into the opening ceremony. 

You'll have a good five to 10 minutes with the flag as you walk in, will you be a "waver" or a "holder" as you walk around? 

I really haven't thought about it too much. I think waving the flag is part of what I'm expected to do so I'll probably wave it. I don't know — I'll see how my arms hold up I guess.

Will you be reaching out to any former flag-bearers for tips ahead of the big moment in Rio? 

I'll definitely be talking to Karen Cockburn [three-time Olympic medallist in trampoline] about her experience, or maybe some of the past flag-bearers because they have been great mentors to me and great role models. So maybe they can give me tips and ideas. 

Curt Harnett (Canada's chef de mission) said at the announcement on Thursday that he revealed a week ago you were the flag-bearer. What has the last week been like?

I got the call first thing in the morning on Wednesday last week. I was pretty speechless when he gave me the news and obviously very excited and very honoured. It is a hard secret to keep because it is something that I'm incredibly proud of. Last night, I mentioned to my family that they should maybe watch the announcement today. 

What was it like waving the Canadian flag next to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill?

It was incredible. It's great that he took the time out of his obviously busy schedule to attend the announcement. I was honoured that he was able to introduce me. I think that he's been a great supporter of sports. I know he'll be cheering the team on. It was a huge privilege to be there today.

Following the announcement, former Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury shared his congratulations with Canada's newest flag-bearer. 

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