Figure skating sensation Stéphane Lambiel will carry the Swiss flag and lead the country’s Olympic delegation during the Winter Games opening ceremony on Friday.
Swiss Olympic said the team’s top managers picked the 25-year-old skater from Saxon in canton Valais for numerous reasons, including his athletic achievements and charisma.
“Being picked to carry the flag is a very pleasant surprise,” Lambiel said in a statement. “I will carry it with great honour.”
Sport Minister Ueli Maurer wished the team good luck on Thursday.
"Go for gold!" he said in a blog post. "Switzerland will keep its fingers crossed."
Lambiel won the silver medal at the last Winter Games in Turin in 2006. He is also a two-time world champion who briefly retired from competition last year before making a comeback in time for the Olympics. He remains a favourite in the ice skating men’s programme.
Lambiel will be leading the largest Swiss delegation to a Winter Games to date. The team includes 146 athletes, 16 more than in Torino.
During those Olympics, snowboarder Philipp Schoch carried the Swiss flag for the opening ceremonies and Maya Penderson-Bieri, a skelton athlete, carried it for the closing ceremonies. Both were gold medalists.