Fencer Mariel Zagunis selected as flag bearer for 2012 U.S. Olympic Team

July 25, 2012, 3 p.m. (ET)
Mariel ZagunisLONDON – Two-time Olympic champion fencer Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) was today selected to lead the 529-member 2012 U.S. Olympic Team into Friday’s (July 27) Opening Ceremony as flag bearer, as announced today by the United States Olympic Committee. Zagunis was chosen by a vote of fellow members of Team USA.

“I’m extremely humbled by this incredible privilege,” said Zagunis. “As an athlete, I can’t imagine a higher honor than to lead Team USA into the Olympic Games, which are the pinnacle of sport and a platform for world peace. I am tremendously proud to represent my sport, our team and, most importantly, the United States of America.”

“I’d like to congratulate Mariel on this tremendous honor,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “It’s especially fitting in the year of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, when Team USA for the first time in history has more women than men, that Mariel receive the extraordinary honor that is carrying our nation’s flag into this celebration of humanity.”

Since becoming the first U.S. fencer to win gold at an Olympic Games in a hundred years with her podium finish in 2004, Zagunis has been virtually unstoppable. The top-ranked women’s saber fencer in the world, Zagunis won gold as a 19-year-old at the Athens Games in 2004, and went on to defend her title in Beijing before taking the individual world championship titles in 2009 and 2010. During the 2011 competition schedule, she added seven individual international medals, including silver at the world championships and gold at the Pan American Games. In 2012, she has added eight international medals.

Zagunis is the third fencing athlete to serve as flag bearer. Norman Armitage carried the flag in both 1952 and 1956, and Janice Lee Romary held the honor in 1968.

Zagunis will compete in the individual sabre competition on Aug. 1.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Zagunis will be available to the media during the USOC leadership press conference at the Main Press Center tomorrow (July 26) at 1 p.m.

U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM FLAG BEARERS
1908     Ralph Rose, Track & Field
1912     George V. Bonhag, Track & Field
1920     Patrick J. McDonald, Track & Field
1924     Patrick J. McDonald, Track & Field
1928     Lemuel (Bud) C. Houser, Track & Field
1932     F. Morgan Taylor, Track & Field
1936     Alfred A. Jochim, Gymnastics
1948     Ralph C. Craig, Yachting
1952     Norman C. Armitage, Fencing
1956     Norman C. Armitage, Fencing
            Warren B. Wooford, Equestrian*
1960     Rafer L. Johnson, Track & Field
1964     William Parry O’Brien, Track & Field
1968     Janice Lee Romary, Fencing
1972     Olga Fikotova Connolly, Track & Field
1976     Gary W. Hall, Swimming
1980     U.S. did not attend
1984     Edward Burke, Track & Field
1988     Evelyn Ashford, Track & Field
1992     Francie Larrieu Smith, Track & Field
1996     Bruce Baumgartner, Wrestling
2000     Cliff Meidl, Canoe/Kayak
2004     Dawn Staley, Basketball
2008     Lopez Lomong, Track & Field

*Due to Australia’s immigration laws for horses, the 1956 equestrian events were held in Stockholm, Sweden.
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