Nadal to be Spain's flag-bearer at Rio Games
Rafael Nadal is getting a second chance to be Spain's Olympic flag-bearer.
Four years ago, Nadal was selected to carry the Spanish flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, but had to pull out of the games with an injury. The honour went to NBA star Pau Gasol instead.
Yesterday, Nadal was unanimously chosen as Spain's flag-bearer for the games in Rio de Janeiro. The announcement was made at an event in Madrid marking the 100-day countdown to the Aug. 5 opening ceremony at Rio's Maracana Stadium.
Nadal posted a video on his official Twitter account thanking the Spanish Olympic Committee.
"This is a great honour," said Nadal, winner of 14 Grand Slam titles. "I'm very excited. I hope the games will be great and that the entire Spanish team can do well."
Nadal won the singles gold medal in 2008 at the Beijing Games and also played in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
"Spanish sport was in debt to Nadal," Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco said. "He gave us a lot more than results."
Nadal will lead a Spanish delegation of about 300 athletes in Rio. The tennis player has been a longtime enthusiast of the Olympics and stayed with the other athletes in the Olympic Village at previous games.
"Without a doubt, Nadal represents a great athlete," Spanish national team soccer coach Vicente del Bosque said.
The announcement came as Nadal defends himself against unproven doping allegations. This week, he filed a lawsuit against a former French minister who accused him of doping and asked the International Tennis Federation to reveal all of his drug-test results to show that he is clean.