Olympic Opening Ceremonies 2012: Which Athletes Will Be Carrying Flags?

John RichardsonCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2012

Olympic Opening Ceremonies 2012: Which Athletes Will Be Carrying Flags?

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    We've waited four long years, but the Olympic Games are finally upon us once again.

    The opening ceremony will take place on July 27, with a host of big-name athletes waving the flags of their respective countries.

    So, which ones you may ask?

    Well, let's go over a few of the more interesting names on the list shall we?

Pau Gasol

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    As far as Spanish basketball fans are concerned, Pau Gasol is probably a household name.

    Gasol has been handed the responsibility of bearing the flag this year after Rafael Nadal dropped out of the Olympics because of a niggling knee problem.

    The LA Laker helped his country to a silver medal at the 2008 games in Beijing, and will hope to go one step better this year by knocking the Americans off their high pedestal.

    Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee recently described Gasol as the man with, "the best values in sport and competition.''

Chris Hoy

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    What would this list be without Team Great Britain's flag bearer, Chris Hoy?

    The four-time gold medalist in track cycling was handed the honor after the 542 members of Team GB voted him as their main man.

    Via The Independent, the Scotsman had this to say:

    I am absolutely delighted. To be leading out Team GB at the Olympics is the stuff of dreams and it being a home Games makes it even more special.

    This will likely be the 36 year old's last Olympics, but what a special way to cap off a glorious career.

Pessoa Rodrigo

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    Brazil's colorful flag will be carried by Equestrian, Pessoa Rodrigo.

    This will be his sixth Olympic Games and he'll be looking to capture his fourth medal.

    He won an individual gold in 2004, and placed third in the team event in 2000 and 1996.

    The man is understandably delighted with the responsibility and said he was, "very moved" and "honored" to receive it.

Ali Mazaheri

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    It is unlikely that Iranian boxer, Ali Mazaheri will be walking out to the Rocky theme song when he hoists his nations flag (although I'd like him to) for the opening ceremony.

    He was handed the honor in late June by the Iranian Olympic Committee in what is likely his last Olympics.

    Via the Tehran Times, The 30 year old had this to say about his position:

    It’s a great honor to walk ahead of your country’s athletes in the Olympics. I will do my best in the competitions to win a medal.

    Let's hope Mazaheri gets to go up against an American this year in a good old diplomatic fight to the death.

Novak Djokavic

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    The former world No. 1 will hope to have more luck at this summer's games than he did at Wimbledon against Roger Federer.

    Well, he's already off to a good start after being named Serbia's flag bearer.

    Djokovic won bronze in Beijing, but will certainly have nothing but gold on his mind this time around.

    The Serb is deservingly ecstatic about being handed the role.

    We are all very excited about the Olympic games in London, such a magnificent sporting event, and it goes without saying what a great honour it is for me to carry the flag for Serbia.

Maria Sharapova

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    My god, is it hot in here or is it just me?

    Maria Sharapova will be the first female in Russia's history to carry the flag out at the Olympics.

    She told CNN, "I wasn't aware that I am the first woman but what a personal honor to be representing Russia."

    Sharapova battled back from near career-ending shoulder injuries to claim the French Open this year, and will be looking for similar success in London.

    It will the 25 year old's first Olympic Games.

Simon Whitfield

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    Our good old neighbors to the north, Canada.

    Their flag will be waved by 37 year old triathlete, Simon Whitfield at the opening ceremony on Friday.

    A father of two, Whitfield stressed to the Globe and Mail that, “It was important for my wife and I for (the girls) to be there because it will probably be the last time I go.”

    If Whitfield is to attain a medal in London, he will have to go through a grueling 1500-meter swim, a 43-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.