Our flag bearer should be chosen on merit

Credit: Newshub

Kris Shannon thinks Laurel Hubbard should be our flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.

No matter what happens at these Commonwealth Games, no matter how many medals New Zealand win, the most inspiring sight surely came when Sophie Pascoe led out the Kiwi team at the opening ceremony.
Perhaps, though, if all goes to plan, such a welcome and inclusive moment can be replicated when the Games close a week tonight.
If Laurel Hubbard does as many expect and wins gold in the women’s 90kg+ weightlifting class tomorrow, she would be an exceptional choice as the flagbearer for the closing ceremony.   End of quote.

Um ….. why …. exactly?

Let’s look back at previous games flag bearers and see who was chosen and why.

  • 2016 Olympics – Lisa Carrington – Gold medal – Canoeing
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games – Richie Patterson – Gold Medal – 85kg weightlifting
  • 2012 Olympics – Mahe Drysdale – Gold medal – Rowing
  • 2010 Commonwealth Games – Joelle King – Gold and Silver medal – Squash
  • 2008 Olympics – Caroline and Georgine Evers-Swindell – Gold medal – Rowing
  • 2006 Commonwealth Games – Greg Yelavich – Silver medal – Centre-Fire pistol

All of our previous flag bearers for both Olympic and Commonwealth Games have been chosen based on their performance at the games. Carrying the flag and leading the team at the closing ceremony is an honour that is earned based on results and attitude.

It’s nonsense that anyone be promoted as flag bearer before their competition has even taken place.

Kris continues:

There may be more deserving options on purely athletic merit – multi-medal winners will certainly be worthy. […]
[…] But choosing the transgender lifter for the honour would be a perfect bookend to the way Pascoe opened New Zealand’s involvement on Wednesday.[…]
[…] And as Waddell also said, these Friendly Games should serve another purpose separate from sheer competition: “The Commonwealth Games are about inclusivity and making sure everyone gets an equal chance.” […]  End of quote.

I wonder how equal it feels for the women competing against Laurel, who has been a man for thirty plus years?

As Otago University professor of physiology Alison Heather says, “A man transitioning to a female has physiological advantages that they take into their new female life.”

Silly me, all these years I’ve thought the games were about sport, but, apparently, they are about inclusivity.

Let’s wait until the competition has finished, and then chose the flag bearer based on merit.


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