Hockey superstar Luciana Aymar (pic) was announced today as the flagbearer by her National Olympic Committee, set to lead her country's delegation in the Opening Ceremony of the upcoming Olympic Games in London in 44 days' time.Aymar, who is competing in her 4th Olympic Games and turns 35 on the day of the Olympic Final, is hoping to lead her team, the current World Champions and Champions Trophy holders, to the Olympic gold and thereby the only honor that is missing in her vast collection of team and individual distinctions - in what is presumed to be her last big international appearance in hockey.
The Magician, as she is nicknamed in Argentina, had previously expressed her desire to fill the flagbearer role, saying "I am fighting for the dream of being the flagbearer because I always liked being there, at the front, with the Argentine colors. I would love to be the flagbearer, I dream of that a lot of the days. It would be a very big honor and a very gratifying moment as an athlete, and as a woman. Hopefully, it will be given to me, I would be delighted with all my heart."The final vote was between 4 candidates: Luciana Aymar, 2008 Olympic gold medalist cyclist Walter Pérez, tennis player Juan Martín Del Potro and NBA basketball star Luis Scola. Aymar had been considered the favorite before the vote and went on to beat out the other four contenders in a secret vote amongst representatives of the 21 different disciplines Argentina participates in, to follow in the footsteps of Emanuel Ginóbili, considered the best Argentinean basketball player in history, who led the Argentine delegation at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
The team captain of the Leonas will be the sixth female flagbearer for Argentina in history, and the first woman since judoka Carolina Mariani at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Aymar had previously served as the flagbearer for her country at the 2007 Panamerican Games in Rio de Janeiro.