Carrying the flag at the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games is considered among the greatest honours an athlete can be bestowed in Australia, and some of our biggest names appear amongst the exclusive list of those lucky enough to have done so.
The announcement of who will carry the Australian flag at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in August is highly anticipated and Ladbrokes Australia have opened a betting market surrounding the pending decision.
Track Cyclist Anna Meares has confirmed herself for a fourth appearance at the Olympic Games this year, and currently figures as outright $3 favourite to carry the Australian flag at the opening ceremony.
Meares delivered Australia one of our biggest triumphs at the 2012 London Olympics when she defeated fierce rival Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain to win gold in the Women’s Sprint,
Ladbrokes.com.au bookmaker Dan Brennan credited Meares as one of Australia’s best athletes and a justifiable occupant of the top line of betting.
“Anna is the real golden girl of Australian sport over the last 12 years,” Brennan said.
“5 medals, 2 golds and she is always in the news for the right reasons.
“This is her fourth and probably last Olympics and she deserves to be the favourite.”
Brennan said that athletes competing in individual sports continue to herald noticeably more interest than those that will line up as part of team.
“Our clients have been looking to support many popular and well-known sportsmen and women,” Brennan said.
“Team sport players have received nowhere as much attention in the market as athletes competing in individual sports.
“Even though Jamie Dwyer (Hockey) is $3 second-favourite, we’re seeing a lot more interest for the likes of Meares and Sally Pearson.”
Boomers star Andrew Gaze had the notable honour of carrying the flag into Stadium Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while Opals captain Lauren Jackson led the Australian team into the London Olympics most recently in 2012.
Veteran Suzy Batkovic currently figures as the most likely basketballer to carry the flag at the Rio Olympics at a $13 quote; tied on the sixth line of betting with sailor Mathew Belcher, while Opals teammate Liz Cambage is a rank outsider at $81 odds.
Boomers Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut are mainstays in the national team fold, and are rated $23 and $26 chances respectively.
Walker Jared Tallent and Kookaburras mainstay Mark Knowles share the fourth line of Australian flagbearer betting at $8 quotes, and interestingly figure as the only other athletes currently available at odds of less-than $10.