February 9, 2006
TORINO, Italy (USST Release)—Three-time Olympian Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) was nominated by his U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding teammates to serve as the Olympic flag bearer to kick off the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino.
It was announced Thursday that five-time Olympian Chris Witty will carry the flag to lead the 211 U.S. athletes into Stadio Olimpico (Olympic Stadium) during the Opening Ceremony on Fri., Feb. 10. Witty is a three-time medal winner in speedskating as she won gold in the 1000m in '02 and captured a silver in the 1000m and bronze in the 1500m in '98. Witty became the ninth U.S. athlete in history to compete in both Winter and Summer Games as she placed fifth in the 500m time trial (cycling) at the '00 Games in Sydney.
Each U.S. Olympic team's athletes are able to nominate one of their own to be the flag bearer, so it is quite an honor to get the nod from your peers. The nomination is put forward by the Team Captain. Freestyle aerialist Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT), who is on his fourth Olympic team, is the captain of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding contingent.
Rahlves, a laid back, soft-spoken speed skier from California, is entering his third Olympics. His off-course demeanor is deceiving as he rips up downhill courses and motocross tracks, enabling a lot of people to admire their reflection in the back of Rahlves' helmet.
This season, Rahlves has amassed three World Cup podiums, including two downhill wins (Wengen, Bormio). His best Olympic finish was a seventh in the super G back in '98 and he has six downhill and three super G victories on the World Cup tour.
Prior to the opening of the 2002 Olympics in Utah, snowboarder Jeff Greenwood was nominated as flag bearer.
Counting Witty, the past three U.S. Olympic flag bearers have been speedskaters - Amy Peterson in '02 and Eric Flaim in '98.