Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner has been named Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.
Warner won the country’s first ever decathlon gold medal with a stellar performance across the event’s 10 disciplines, finishing with a score of 9,018 points.
The London, Ont., product is the fourth decathlete in history to surpass the 9000-point mark.
“It’s an honour in my lifetime to be able to represent these athletes at the closing ceremony,” Warner said. “I remember when I was growing up, sitting on the couch and watching athletes like Donovan Bailey and Catriona Le May Doan with my mom on the couch and seeing how much effect that they had on my life and inspired me.
“I have no doubt that these same athletes that competed here at this Games will have that same effect to Canadians.”
The 31-year-old shattered the Olympic record of 8,893 points in Japan, as well as the Canadian record of 8,895 points he previously set in May in Götzis, Austria.
Warner is also the first Canadian decathlete to win multiple Olympic medals after also winning bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The only other Canadian to win an Olympic medal in the decathlon is Dave Steen, who captured bronze at Seoul 1988.
Warner is the second decathlete to carry the flag for Canada after Mike Smith got the nod in the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Women’s basketball player Miranda Ayim and Nathan Hirayama of the Canadian men’s rugby sevens team shared flag-bearer duties at the opening ceremony on July 19.
The Tokyo Games were delayed by one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with events held almost entirely without spectators.
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press