Fletcher named Bermuda’s flag bearer
Swimmer Julian Fletcher has been named as the flag bearer who will lead Bermuda into the opening ceremony of the Pan Am Games tonight.
The 24-year-old will carry his country’s flag at the competition’s curtain raiser in front of 40,000 spectators at the Roger’s Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays, with ESPN providing coverage of the ceremony starting at 8.30pm Bermuda time.
Fletcher, who was chosen for the honour by Carlos Lee, the Bermuda chef de mission, will march along with sailors Cecilia Wollmann and Cameron Pimentel, gymnast Sydney Mason, swimmer Lisa Blackburn and equestrienne Virginia McKey.
Flora Duffy will not join the parade as she competes in the triathlon at Ontario Place West Channel tomorrow morning.
Also competing tomorrow morning will be Virginia McKey in the Prix St George at OLG Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park.
Fletcher, who competes for the University of Southern California’s Elite Team, had his first taste of a major competition at last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where he reached the semi-finals of the 100 metres breaststroke.
Fletcher, who returned to Bermuda for last month’s Validus Bermuda National Championships at the Aquatics Centre, has enjoyed an encouraging season, setting a national record in the 200 at the Arena Pro Series in Arizona in March in a time of 2:18.77.
In Toronto he will be racing in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
Organisers have remained tight-lipped on specific details of tonight’s ceremony, although they have promised that it will deliver a thoroughly modern spectacle that celebrates the diversity of Toronto.
Special guest stars such as famous Canadian athletes will also be making an appearance during the evening, which will feature a mix of hip hop, art and sport.
In partnership with the Cirque du Soleil, the opening ceremony will feature 625 performers from 25 different countries — some of them past Pan Am athletes themselves.
Cirque du Soleil has been developing the evening’s show since 2013, when the event organisers approached the circus with the idea for an opening ceremony that celebrated Toronto’s vibrant multicultural spirit.
The ceremony, which will last about two and a half hours and include more than 6,000 athletes from 41 countries and territories, will end when the Pan Am torch lights the iron cauldron, which sits at the base of the CN Tower.
The opening ceremony officially signals the start of the Games, although some preliminary competition rounds are already in progress.