Veteran swimmer Mark Foster has admitted his surprise at being asked to carry the flag for Great Britain at tomorrow’s opening ceremony.
The 38-year-old, who made his Olympic debut at Seoul in 1988 and is competing in his fifth Games, was selected by fellow Team GB members.
“I was blown away when I was told, it was a big surprise and a huge honour. It’s fantastic,” said Foster.
“Some of the most wonderful names in British sport have been Olympic flag-bearers. I really wanted to be picked but I didn’t totally believe I would be. My heart was pumping when the announcement was made. Making the Olympic Games this time around was fantastic in itself, but this has really topped it off. It’s phenomenal.”
Foster, who will compete in the 50m, is a six-time world short course champion who has broken eight world records during his illustrious career. The Essex swimmer missed the last Games in Athens but qualified in style at the national championships in April and then in June became the first British man to swim the 50m in under 22 seconds.
“I didn’t expect, after missing out on Athens, to be here eight years on (from Sydney 2000),” said Foster.
“When I was younger, walking into the village I was like a rabbit in headlights. Now I’m more experienced and I’m here to do a job and hopefully lead by example.”
Foster follows the likes of rowers Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent in carrying the Union Jack at the curtain-raising event.