UVic grad among Canadian flagbearers for Tokyo Olympic Games

A University of Victoria graduate and rugby athlete is one of two Canadians representing the country as a flagbearer for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Men's rugby sevens co-captain Nathan Hirayama and three-team Olympian Miranda Ayim will be the flagbearers for Canada during the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday, July 23.

Hirayama joined Canada's rugby sevens team in 2006 at just 18 years old. He's since competed in three Pan American Games and three Commonwealth Games with the national team, winning two golds and one silver at the Pan American Games.

This year's Olympic Games will be the first time that Canada's rugby sevens team has made it into the international competition.

"I feel hugely honoured to be nominated to be the flag bearer alongside Miranda," said Hirayama in a statement released by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) on Monday.

"I’ve been watching the Olympics for my entire life and understand the honour and privilege that comes with being the flagbearer," he said. "It’s something that I’ve never even dreamt of. I’m extremely excited to get to Tokyo with my team. We’ve been working hard together for a long time and can’t wait for our opportunity to show the world what we can do."

Meanwhile, three-time Olympic athlete Ayim will also be a flagbearer for the Games.

She made her Olympic debut with the women's basketball team in the London 2012 Games and has been representing the country in other international competitions for 15 years.

The COC says this will be the first year that a player from a national team sport will be a flagbearer for an Olympic opening ceremony.

"I feel incredibly honoured to lead Team Canada alongside Nathan into the Opening Ceremony and to be representing not only my fellow athletes of Team Canada, but also the greater Team Canada: our nation," said Ayim.

"The past year and a half demanded a high level of teamwork and Canadians from coast-to-coast demonstrated togetherness, camaraderie and sacrifice, true team spirit," she said.

Fifteen other athletes who were raised on Vancouver Island will be competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which run from July 23 to Aug 8. 

Ready to see who will be holding the #TeamCanada flag at the #Tokyo2020 Opening Ceremony? ��

Here is Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau with the reveal ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/YExmszcKio

— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) July 19, 2021