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Russian Olympic chiefs name Maria Sharapova as flag-bearer in London

Updated: Tuesday, 10 Jul 2012 18:07

Sharapova will be making her Olympic debut on the lawns of Wimbledon at the end of the month
Sharapova will be making her Olympic debut on the lawns of Wimbledon at the end of the month

Maria Sharapova will be Russia's first female Olympic flag-bearer at the London 2012 Games.

"Sharapova will carry our flag," president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Alexander Zhukov told reporters following an executive board meeting. 

The 25-year-old will be making her Olympic debut in London after failing to qualify for the 2004 Games in Athens and missing the 2008 edition in Beijing with a shoulder injury.

Russia broke with tradition by naming Sharapova, who also won Wimbledon (2004), US Open (2006) and Australian Open (2008) titles, for the rare honour.

Since the Russians first took part in the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki as part of the Soviet Union this great honour was traditionally given to famous male athletes such as Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin and swimmer Alexander Popov, who have won numerous Olympic titles.

"I am so honored, and especially excited as it will be my first Olympics in my career," the Florida-based Russian said on her official website (www.mariasharapova.com) when she first heard the news about her nomination last month.

"I have had to keep this hush hush for two weeks and keeping secrets is not my best quality!"

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Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
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