Who is Hannah Mills, the British flag bearer for the 2020 Olympics?
One of the best Olympic athletes and environmental activist in sailing, Hannah Mills hopes to add another gold to her collection in 2020.
Hannah Mills of the UK sailing team has been selected to wear the Union Jack at the Olympic Opening Ceremony tomorrow, Friday 23 July.
The reigning 470 Olympic champion has said that being named the GB team’s flag bearer at the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony is the greatest honor of her career.
Mills won gold at Rio 2016 and silver at London 2012 in the 470 class alongside Saskia Clark, and aims to defend her gold in the women’s dinghy in doubles with new teammate Eilidh McIntyre.
Hannah Mills will wear the Union Jack alongside rower Moe Sbihi, who won gold in the coxless four in Rio, at the first Olympic opening ceremony featuring male and female athletes carrying each nation’s flag .
Mills, 33, will also be the first female sailor to wear the Union flag. “Being invited to carry the GB team flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is not a phrase I would have thought to say,” she said after the announcement.
“When (the chef de mission) Mark (England) told me that I had been chosen, it was completely overwhelming and when I had a moment to think about what that meant, I became quite moved.
“It is the greatest honor of my career and I hope more than ever that these Games can uplift our country and provide incredible sporting moments to inspire the nation.”
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McInytre enter Tokyo 2020 as one of Britain’s top Olympic gold medal hopefuls.
Hannah Mills was already one of Britain’s most decorated Olympic sailors when she teamed up with Eilidh in January 2017, having won a silver medal in London 2012 and a gold medal in Rio 2016. The images Her and the longtime crew Saskia Clark hugging and jumping for joy after winning gold demonstrated their true friendship as well as their immensely fruitful partnership.
Following Clark’s retirement after Rio, she teamed up with her new partner Eilidh McIntyre in early 2017. McIntyre, along with helm Sophie Weguelin, had been Mills and Clark’s main rivals for the selection of the British team 470 for Rio in 2016.
The new partnership was an instant success, winning the World Cup final in Santander, Spain in their first outing together and then silver at the 470 World Championships.
The pair have gone on to achieve an impressive streak of results, including winning the 2019 470 World Championship and reaching the World Championship podium three times in the past four years.
Hannah Mills was born in Wales and started sailing at the age of eight in Cardiff Bay, having tried the sport on vacation. She first caught the attention of the British sailing world at the age of 14 when she won the Optimist National Championships in 2002, the first girl to do so, and the Optimist Girls World Championship in 2003. She was named British Young Sailor of the Year and BBC Wales Young Sports Personality of the Year.
After playing in the junior doubles dinghy, the 420, she won the women’s world championships in 2006 and then the junior girls title of the largest class 470 in 2010.
Eilidh McInytre comes from a family with a strong Olympic sailing tradition: his father Mike won gold in the Star Keelboat with Bryn Vaile in Seoul in 1988 in a spectacular Olympic regatta which saw mast breaks and rescues. McIntyre and Vaile won Britain’s only gold medal in sailing for 14 years, between 1976 and 2000. Hannah’s partner is Nick Dempsey, also a three-time Olympic windsurfing medalist.
McInytre and Mills are set to face tight competition in Tokyo for the women’s gold medal 470 from the French duo of Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA), while recently crowned world champions Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero (ESP) have also good looks. placed for a fight at the top of the podium. Japan is also well represented, with 2018 world champions Ai Kondo and Miho Yoshioka sailing their national waters.
Mills is also a strong voice in ocean conservation. After seeing the pollution in Rio, she worked with the International Olympic Committee, she launched the Big Plastic Pledge, encouraging people to make three daily pledges to reduce single-use plastics in their lives.
Following the announcement this morning that Hannah Mills would be the flag bearer for the GR team at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, she added on her Facebook page. “I am completely lost for words… Overwhelmed, honored and proud are definitely feelings I have felt over the past 24 hours! Telling this to my family was quite moving!
“The number of other amazing female athletes on the team who also really deserved this is not lost on me, so I hope to make them and the whole GB team proud.
“I will carry the flag of the GB team, the athletes and the whole of the UK | For the Olympic Games and what they represent | For the planet and the changes we need to make.
“Thank you @teamgb for this incredible honor.”
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