The Spanish Olympic Committee made its choice: the European figure skating champion Javier Fernandez will carry Spain’s flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sochi (Russia). The 22-year-old figure skater is one of the 21 Spanish athletes attending the Games that debut on Feb. 7 in the Russian resort city. Although expected (and, of course, well-deserved), the decision may not suit very well Javier’s training plans. Actually, according to an interview published by Absolute Skating at the beginning of January, the Spaniard seemed then inclined to refuse such a proposal.
by Florentina Tone
Asked about this particular detail – the possibility of carrying the Spanish flag at the Olympics – Javier Fernandez told journalist Sigrid Rivera from Absolute Skating: “I’ve heard that the Spanish Olympic Committee has different athletes in mind and I’m one of them, but I’m not sure if I could do it. As Spain isn’t qualified for the Team Event (which starts one day before the Opening Ceremony), I could arrive at Sochi later, right in time for the men’s event trainings, and that’s what Brian (Orser) wants me to do; he wants to treat it as a normal competition and not arrive a week earlier than needed. Of course it’d be a huge honor, but the important thing is doing well at the Olympics and maybe it’s necessary to stay home for a bit longer to train as much as I can before Sochi. So if they ask me to be the flag-bearer in the Opening I will try to explain to them that I don’t want to arrive that early because of my training schedule and maybe offer to be the flag-bearer in the closing ceremony”.
In the meantime, the skater seems to have changed his mind. On the Spanish Olympic Committee’s website, a short video shows an (apparently) enthusiastic Javier Fernandez, honored to have been given the opportunity to carry Spain’s flag at the opening ceremony in Sochi. Two-times European Champion (2013 and 2014) and World bronze medalist in 2013, Javier Fernandez stated: “From Canada, I just want to say that for me is an honor to be Spain’s flag-bearer in Sochi”. The question remains: was this an offer he just couldn’t refuse? Because, all in all, arriving later at the Olympics might have proved a better idea for a skater fighting for a podium placement in Sochi.