Commonwealth Games 800m runner, Keely Small will lead Australia into the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics on Sunday, after today being announced as Australian Flag Bearer for the third edition of the Games.
The 17-year-old will lead the 88-strong Australian Team into the Opening Ceremony in front of an expected 250 000 spectators at the world’s biggest multisport event for young athletes.
The Australian Under 20 and Under 18 record-holder over 800m and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games representative was surprised and honoured to be selected to carry Australia’s flag.
“It’s such an honour to be representing 88 of Australia’s best Under 18 athletes and it’s an amazing opportunity,” Small said.
“There’s so many elite athletes in this group, to be chosen out of everyone is an amazing honour and I’m really looking forward to leading them in Argentina.”
In a break from the traditional stadium venue, the Opening Ceremony will take place on Avenue de Julio 9th – the biggest avenue in the world, with more than a quarter of a million spectators expected to cheer on athletes from 206 countries in the 360-degree interactive ceremony
“It’s going to be an amazing experience in front of those crowds. I’m really looking forward to leading the Team out.”
Australia’s Chef de Mission Evelyn Halls said Small demonstrated the ideals of excellence, respect and sportsmanship, vital to lead Australia at the Youth Olympic level
“Keely will be an amazing ambassador for the Australian team,” Halls said.
“Even with very strong results, she is still a very quiet achiever and puts in the work without much fanfare.
“Keely’s love of competition shines through. Whether it’s the end of a gruelling race or in training, she has a look of joy that shows her love of competition.”
Small was announced as flagbearer at a Team Reception in Sydney today, with proud parents Newton and Angela watching on.
“I think I teared up a little when her name was called,” Angela said. “I’m very proud for her, it’s something she would have been shocked at but so proud to represent Australia and come in with the flag.”
With only five days until the Opening Ceremony, Keely’s working on her new flag waving skills.
“My flag-waving skills are getting there. It’ll be all good by the time it comes to walk out.”
The Youth Olympics will run from 6-18 October, with Australia competing across 26 sports.