Canada Names Outspoken Putin Critic As Official Flag-Bearer At Sochi Olympics

Reuters has the news:

Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada’s most decorated female ice hockey player and an outspoken critic of Russia’s anti-gay laws, was named on Thursday as her country’s flag-bearer for next month’s Sochi Winter Games. A triple gold medallist and pioneer of her sport who has played professionaly in men’s leagues, Wickenheiser said she was honored to be chosen to represent her country. “You don’t really think about carrying the flag in the Olympic Games when you are a kid growing up and having a dream to go to the Olympics,” she told reporters on a conference call on Thursday. “For us in women’s hockey, the Olympics is our Stanley Cup. It’s what we play for every four years, it’s what we strive for, it is everything.” Once named one of Sports Illustrated’s Top 25 Toughest Athletes in the World, Wickenheiser will be making her sixth Olympic appearance.

Wickenheiser might become an IOC committee member.

Tipped as a possible future International Olympic Committee member, Wickenheiser has never shied away from defending her sport or speaking out against Russia’s anti-gay legislation and right of athletes to compete at the Olympics no matter what their sexual orientation. “I am a big believer that the Olympic Games should be about including everyone, treating everyone with respect,” she said. “I am supportive of every athlete being able to compete regardless of your race, gender or orientation and I will carry that Canadian flag proudly believing I am representing all the athletes that feel that way as well.”