Hayley Wickenheiser will be Canada’s flag bearer for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The female hockey star is making her fifth Olympic appearance, her first in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. She has won three gold medals and one silver medal with Canada at the Winter Olympics.
She is also the second women’s hockey player to have the honour. Danielle Goyette was the other, in 2006 in Turin, Italy.
Speed skater Clara Hughes carried the Olympic flag at Vancouver’s Games in 2010.
“I’m just really proud and grateful for the chance,” she told CTV News. “To be able to carry the flag for your country is symbolic of the fact that you’re not only representing your country, yourself, your hockey team… you’re also representing every Canadian around the world.”
Wickenheiser, who also represented Canada in the 2000 Summer Olympics for softball, became the first woman to score a goal playing in a men’s professional league in 2003, while playing for Finland’s HC Salamat.
The 35-year-old is widely considered the greatest female hockey player of all time.