MOSCOW, Russia (Wed, Jun 13) – According to RIA Novosti quoting Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko; Maria Sharapova is a leading candidate to carry the Russian flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
While Russia's tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev almost confirmed on Tuesday that Russian tennis star will be the Russian delegation's flag-bearer Olympic opening ceremony in London on July 27.
Local media reported referring to Tarpishchev – also a member of the International Olympic Committee, that Tennis is a very popular sport and, so as far as I know,has been chosen to carry the Swiss flag and Rafa Nadal will lead the Spanish delegation at the opening ceremony in London.
Carrying the national flag is deemed as a great honor in Russia and it is customarily given to renowned athletes, mostly men, such as Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin and swimmer Alexander Popov, who have won numerous Olympic titles.
The Russians might break the practice by honoring Sharapova, who won the French Open title last weekend and her victory in Paris gave Russian tennis star the full set of four grand slam titles.
The Olympic tennis tournament will be played on the grass courts at Wimbledon where, as a 17-year-old, Sharapova stunnedin the 2004 Wimbledon final to win her maiden grand slam title.
At the end of the day the Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko prolonged the issue saying that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) would make the final decision on the flag-bearer next month.