The President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, headed the Argentine Flag presentation ceremony, held at the National High Level Sport Training Center (CeNARD). President Macri handed the flag to basketball player Luis Scola, who was elected flag bearer of the Argentine delegation that will represent us in the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, on August 5th.
In addition, Macri congratulated all the athletes that qualified for Rio 2016. "It is a joy for me to be here and begin this way the first Monday of the country’s third century and be with the best athletes of our country. I admire you all greatly, as you have created your own challenges and lived up to them. You accepted the challenge of improving through sport and that is something wonderful. Representing your country at the Olympic Games, after years of work and effort, is something unique. We are all going to join you, following you and hoping you put all your energy in your competitions and represent us with the joy this deserves. Thank you for representing us and I wish you all success possible”, he said.
The President was joined by the President of the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) Gerardo Werthein, Vice President Gabriela Michetti, the Minister of Education and Sport, Esteban Bullrich and the Secretary of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Javier Mac Allister.
Dr. Gerardo Werthein said: "Scola is a great captain, an exceptional person, our candidate for the International Olympic Committee’s election and if he wins the election in Rio, we are going to have the pleasure of having two at the IOC, something historic for Argentina. I am very happy and this is a very deserved recognition for Luis”.
Argentina will take to the Olympic Games one of its largest delegations in history and with respect to this significant fact, Werthein explained: "It is due not only to a quantitative change, but qualitative, considering their preparation and the quality of the delegation we have. Today we can state these kids are as prepared as any other first world athlete and that makes me proud. Now everything is in their hands”.
Mario Moccia, Secretary General of the COA, Víctor Sergio Groupierre, Deputy Secretary of the COA, Diego Gusmán, Chef de Mission, Daniel Jacubovich, Director General of ENARD and Diógenes de Urquiza, General Coordinator of ENARD were also present at the ceremony.
On the honor to bear the national flag, Scola, winner of a gold medal in Athens 2004 and bronze in 2008, stated: "It is a special day. Not every day does the president of your country hand you the flag you are going to carry in the Olympic parade. I am very proud not only for being here, but also for being able to participate in another Olympic Games. Carrying the flag is something unimaginable, I do not know what is going to happen that day. It is something so different to anything I have experienced in the past and I do not know how I am going to take it. It will be a very special day and I do not doubt it will be my career’s highlight ".
The following outstanding athletes were present in the ceremony: cyclist Juan Curuchet and Walter Pérez, gold medalists in Beijing 2008, taekwondo athlete Sebastián Crismanich, gold medal winner in London 2012, Las Leonas, Los Leones, Los Gladiadores, some members of La Garra, the male voleyball team, boxers Alberto Melián, Yamil Peralta, Alberto Palmetta and Ignacio Perrín, athlete Jennifer Dahlgren, gymnast Federico Molinari, rower Brian Rosso, swimmer Martín Naidich and sailor Julio Alsogaray.
Crismanich recalled the great gesture the pivot had four years ago, in London 2012: "I was flag bearer thanks to Scola, due to the fact that he gave me his place in the Closing of the Olympic Games, where he had been elected but he asked the flag be given to me. I will always be grateful to both Luis and the COA, for letting me live that experience. Today it is his turn to be flag bearer and he deserves it, not only as an athlete, but also as a person and I feel very happy for him ". (COARG.ORG.AR)