RIGA - Latvian long-jumper Ineta Radevica, who finished fourth in the Olympic long-jump competition, will carry the Latvian flag at the Olympic Closing Ceremony on Sunday, said Latvian Olympic Team spokeswoman Marita Vilcina, reports LETA. The Latvian Olympic Committee and the Olympic Team initially asked BMX gold medalist Maris Strombergs to carry the flag.
However, Strombergs, who was impressed by what he considered Radevica’s beautiful and emotional performance in the women’s long-jump, which the whole Latvian BMX team watched on TV after arriving at the Olympic Village on Aug. 8, asked Radevica to carry the flag in the Closing Ceremony.
Strombergs said that the entire BMX team was heartbroken after Radevica fell one centimeter short of the Olympic bronze.
After the unexpected request, Radevica, with tears in her eyes, said that she would of course accept the honor. “This is an unbelievable felling. It is a huge honor, and the best thing to happen to me at London!”
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, in London for part of the Games, commended the Estonian Olympic team for well-organized preparations and success at the tournament, reports National Broadcasting. “I am extremely glad that these were again the Olympic Games where Estonian athletes appeared to be among the best in quite a few fields; a huge amount of work has been done to reach these results, both by the athletes and their background teams,” said the president at a reception in the Estonian embassy in London. “I thank you for your efforts and your achievements,” added Ilves.
According to the president, major tournaments are emotionally important for the Estonian people and although the won medals do not demonstrate that any nation or a country is better than the others, good results bring joy to people.
The head of State also commended Estonian businesspeople and companies that have been able to find opportunities to continue sponsoring top-level sports in Estonia, despite a difficult economy.
On Friday Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite bestowed the Grand Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania to Lithuanian Olympian Ruta Meilutyte. The young medalist won gold in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke.
“I am happy that the golden generation of athletes, raised in the independent Lithuania, is ready to go forward with the Lithuanian tri-color in front of them. Your victory is not only a huge honor, but also a commitment to work and improve. I congratulate you on winning the golden medal. It is a result of your hard work, of your coaches and your family,” the president said to the champion.