SportsAid athlete Ross Cullen will have the honour of leading out Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games after being announced as Flagbearer. BMX racer Ross, who competes in the mixed team event on Sunday alongside team-mate Elissa Bradford, was selected by his fellow athletes for the role as Flagbearer with the team voting for which athlete best personified the Team GB values.
The Opening Ceremony will break from the tradition of a stadium celebration to a street party in downtown Buenos Aires at the famous Obelisk landmark. Preston-born Ross, who has twice been World Junior BMX Champion and received support from SportsAid over the last five years, will lead out Team GB’s 43-strong athlete delegation with the Ceremony officially starting 12 days of action.
Team GB are set to be represented in 17 of the 32 sports with Buenos Aires 2018 the third edition of the Youth Olympic Games following Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014. This includes 31 athletes who have been helped by SportsAid. In total, 3,998 young stars from 206 countries will compete in Argentina in what is the first Olympic event to feature equal numbers of male and female athletes.
“It’s an honour to have been selected for the Youth Olympics and represent BMX but it’s even more special to be chosen as Flagbearer,” said Ross – who made the top 10 of SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award in 2015. “It’s amazing to be picked by my fellow athletes. It felt like I’ve got on with everyone and it’s a really good group and strong team so I’m pleased they’ve picked me to lead the team out.
“I’ve loved being here during these first few days. Even just getting off the plane and seeing all the buses branded up and then walking into the Village for the first time – it’s quite surreal actually. The atmosphere here has been amazing and I’ve met so many different athletes from all around the world. I’ve loved being here and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Mahdi Choudhury, Team GB's Chef de Mission for Buenos Aires 2018, said: “From the first day of coming together Ross has embraced the event and being part of Team GB. With 43 athletes selected from 17 sports, coming together as one Team GB is an important part of our first few days at the Youth Olympics and Ross has really enjoyed that challenge and been a big part of our team ethos.
“Being Flagbearer, and being selected by your peers, is a great honour and I’m sure he will enjoy the once in a lifetime experience tomorrow. The team have settled very well into the Village and we’ve been impressed by the accommodation and the sporting venues. The organising committee have done a great job to set up what promises to be a fantastic Games in Buenos Aires."