QINGDAO, East China, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Many Olympic sailors felt proud of carrying the national flag of their own countries at the opening ceremony on Friday before sailing their nations to Olympic glory.
Ciara Peelo, Ireland's most dedicated Laser Radial sailor, will lead the 51-strong Olympic team at the National Stadium in Beijing.
"The Olympic Games themselves are an inspiration. Honor will help to motivate me to do my best for my country at the Games," she said, the only female sailor of the Irish six-strong sailing team.
Brazil's legendary double gold medallist Robert Scheidt also hoped the honorary position would bring him luck for gunning the third Olympic gold in a row.
"It was quite emotional. Usually, they do not announce the flag bearer until right before the opening ceremony. It is very special to have a flag presented to me directly from the President," said Scheidt, Laser gold medallist in 1996 and 2004, Laser silver medallist in 2000.
Alejandro Foglia, the only sailor from Uruguay, is not only the flag bearer for the opening ceremony in Beijing, but also in Qingdao.
"There are not very many Uruguayan athletes competing. I was selected because of my commitment to the sport," said Foglia, 24, from Laser class.
Barbara Kendall, windsurfer from New Zealand, is the first woman to parade her country's colors at the opening ceremony. "It is announced only a couple of days before the ceremony and it is quite an event," said the 40-year-old from Auckland.
Some 300 sailors and coaches left Qingdao on Friday morning for Beijing in two chartered planes to attend the opening ceremony.