Winter Sports

Flag-bearer curse? Not in the Winter Olympics

The honour of being named an Olympic flag-bearer can also come with additional pressure. But seven of the past 10 Canadians to lead their teammates into the opening ceremony went on to earn medals, including five gold.

5 of Canada's last 10 won gold, 2 more earned podium spots

Hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser led Canada into the opening ceremony at the 2014 Olympics. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

The job of Olympic flag-bearer is often seen as a risky one.

​While there have been no reported instances of rotator cuff injuries due to overenthusiastic waving, the honour can put additional pressure on the standard-bearing athlete and some were unable to meet those expectations. That being said, seven of the past 10 Canadians to lead their teammates into the opening ceremony at the Winter Olympics went on to earn medals — and five of them won gold.

With Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir set to lead Canada into the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, here's a look back at the previous 10 athletes and their performances after carrying the Canadian flag:

Hayley Wickenheiser, 2014 Sochi (hockey)

The legendary forward earned her fourth gold medal for Canada, scoring two goals and three assists in what proved to be her final Winter Games.

Clara Hughes, 2010 Vancouver (speed skating)

The multi-sport athlete added to her career medal haul from both Winter and Summer Olympics with a bronze in the 5,000-metre event.

Danielle Goyette, 2006 Torino (hockey)

Goyette, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017, scored three goals and added an assist en route to her second Olympic gold.

Danielle Goyette is among the Canadian Olympians who went on to win gold after carrying the flag during the opening ceremony. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

Catriona Le May Doan, 2002 Salt Lake City (speed skating)

Le May Doan successfully defended her 1998 gold in the women's 500m, taking top spot on the podium with a then-Olympic record time of 37.30 seconds.

Jean-Luc Brassard, 1998 Nagano (freestyle skiing)

The 1994 gold medallist missed the moguls podium by 0.24 points, finishing fourth.

Kurt Browning, 1994 Lillehammer (figure skating)

The four-time world champion placed a career-high fifth at his third Olympics, while Elvis Stojko earned silver for Canada.

Kurt Browning, left, didn't medal after serving as Canada's flag-bearer at the 1994 Games. (Ron Poling/The Canadian Press)

Sylvie Daigle, 1992 Albertville (speed skating)

Daigle won gold in the 3,000m relay along with teammates Angela Cutrone, Nathalie Lambert and Annie Perreault.

Brian Orser, 1988 Calgary (figure skating)

Orser was one-tenth of a point away from gold in the Battle of the Brians, earning silver for the second Olympics in a row while U.S. skater Brian Boitano took the top prize.

The Battle of the Brians

4 years ago
Brian Orser and Brian Boitano go toe-to-toe in the men's free skate at the 1988 Calgary Olympics 10:34

Gaétan Boucher, 1984 Sarajevo (speed skating)

Boucher's victories in the 1,000m and 1,500m events were the first individual golds by a Canadian male at the Winter Games.

Ken Read, 1980 Lake Placid (alpine skiing)

A member of the "Crazy Canucks" of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Read did not finish in the downhill event.


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