Sochi, Russia - (4 February 2014) – The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named long track speed skater and Vancouver Olympian Shane Dobbin flag bearer for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Dobbin was presented with the symbols of the New Zealand Olympic team today in a ceremony at the athletes village in Sochi, Russia. With a background of flags of the world, the magnificent Fisht Stadium and the stunning snow-covered Caucasus mountains, Dobbin was cloaked with Te Mahutonga, the New Zealand team kakahu (cloak) and presented with the traditional pounamu pendant worn by the flag bearer.
Team members gathered to acknowledge the athlete with a formal greeting and karakea.
Chef de Mission Pete Wardell said Dobbin was selected as an athlete of great standing within the team, as a representative of the Olympic movement and with consistent and strong results in competition.
“Shane demonstrates the values we expect of an Olympian,” said Wardell. “He is respected within the team and has great mana amongst his peers. With proven results he is a world class athlete, a wonderful role model and an inspiration.”
“Our flag bearers become part of our sporting history and we’re delighted Shane will become one of a series of exceptional Olympic athletes who have led and inspired our teams.”
Dobbin, father of 2 year old Liliana, said he’s proud to wear the cloak and lead the team on 7th February.
“This is a great honour. To wear the beautiful team cloak and to walk into the Opening Ceremony together with the team is something I could never have imagined. I am determined to make the team, and our country, proud.
“Seeing the New Zealand Olympic Team compete as a child was an inspiration to me and I hope I can inspire a new generation, too.”
Dobbin has been at the Olympic village in Sochi, Russia for some six days and is well underway with training. With some strong training performances behind him, Dobbin will first compete in Adler Stadium on 8th February in the 5,000m and his favoured 10,000m on the 18th of February.
Dobbin said he’s pleased with the timing of his events. “Opening with the 5,000m metres gives me a chance to acclimatise and prepare for the 10,000 metres. “While I’ll be going for it 100% in the 5K the focus is on preparation for the 10K. I’ll be looking for a top 15 performance and if I achieve that I’m on track for the 10k."
The flag bearer is chosen by the Chef de Mission in conjunction with members of the Athlete Support Team. The selection of the flag bearer takes into account a combination of past success as an Olympic athlete as well as an ability to lead, inspire and support the athletes within the team.
The Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games takes place on 7 February 2000h Sochi time (5am 8 February NZ time).
About Shane Dobbin
Age At Games: 34
Birthplace: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Residence: Gold Coast, Australia
Former Inline Skating World Champion Shane Dobbin switched codes to Speed Skating prior to the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver 2010. Dobbin entered the Men's 5000m and placed 17th. Shane is father to a baby daughter.
Sochi 22 Mar '13 5,000m 10th (field 24)
Sochi 23 Mar '13 10,000m 6th (field 14)
Calgary 8-10 Nov '13 5,000m 17th (field 55)
Salt Lake 15-17 Nov '13 5,000m 15th (field 55)
Astana 29 Nov-1 Dec '13 10,000m 20th (field 41)
Berlin 6-8 Dec '13 5,000m 18th (field 52)