Foil fencer Aida Mohamed, who is about to break a Hungarian record by appearing in her 7th Olympics, and six-time Olympic medalist swimmer László Cseh will carry the Hungarian flag at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
For the first time in the history of the openings, every country will have a female and a male athlete carrying their national flag together.
Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB) explained that while two youth Olympic champions could take the oath at the Hungarian team’s Olympic vows ceremony – namely swimmer Ajna Késely and sports shooter István Péni -, two older athletes were chosen for flag bearers, following the suggestion of the MOB athletes’ committee.
World Championship silver medalist, European champion Aida Mohamed commented that it was a great honor for her, and that she had struggled to hold back her tears after finding out about the appointment. “It’s one of the biggest things for an athlete. It’s an uplifting feeling to walk through the stadium while we know the whole world is watching us. I’ve attended six Olympics so far, and I’ve been there at almost every opening ceremony. Each ceremony is preceded by a long wait, it takes a long time to get to the procession, but when one enters a crowded stadium, it is a cathartic experience that makes up for everything. Being able to carry the flag this time is equal to a gold medal for me…,” Mohamed said.
Mohamed will travel to Japan as a reserve for the women’s foil fencing team. But since reserves can be easily substituted in fencing, by taking part she has every chance to see off the record of the “the greatest fencer of all time,” Aladár Gerevich and sailor Áron Gádorfalvi, both of them having taken part in six Games.
The other flag bearer, four-time Olympic silver, double bronze medalist, two-time world and multiple European champion László Cseh said he had to consider accepting the invitation, as he hadn’t participated in any of the opening ceremonies so far. He was also due to compete the next day or the day after, adding that he has no “desire for the spotlight”. “I was thinking a lot, I talked to my wife, and I realized it was such a huge honor to accept the invitation. After the Olympics, I am retiring from actively competing, so I really want to swim in Tokyo with pleasure. My goal is to end my career by putting myself out there one last time,” he said.
The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics will be held on July 23.
featured image: Olympic champion Áron Szilágyi with the Hungarian flag at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The sabre fencer eventually defended his title in Brazil. Photo by MTI/EPA/Szergej Ilnyickij