WEDNESDAY, JULY 25: Swimmer Roy Burch said it would be an honour to carry the Bermuda flag in Friday’s Olympic Opening Ceremony, but added it would be better for his preparations if someone else is chosen.
Burch and swim coach Ben Smith arrived at the Olympic Village in London on Tuesday. Long jumper Arantxa King is already settled in while sailors Jesse and Zander Kirkland are nestled in at the sailing venue, which is approximately four hours southwest of London.
Carrying the Bermuda flag is usually reserved for one of the senior athletes at the Games.
However, carrying the flag also comes with the burden of having to hoist it around for several hours as the athlete would have to carry it in from the holding area, which is a distance away from the stadium, then hang on to it during the Opening Ceremony.
Burch said: “I would like to carry it as it would be a great honour, but it’s not something I’m pushing for.
“I’m really focused on what I have to do athletically. I’ve put so much into this past couple of years so my focus is on my race.”
Burch said he was “a lot calmer” arriving at the village this time than four years ago in Beijing.
“I had never been to China before and had never been to an Olympics before. I am excited to be here, but I am being more professional.”
The two-time Olympian said he was impressed by the location and how clean everything is in the Athletes Village.
“It’s very grand and very lush — it has a great feel to it.”
Burch said today is set for recovery and he is on a cycle of recovery, power and race ahead of his swim on August 2.
Swim coach Ben Smith said: “There’s lots of energy. We arrived today and participated in the flag raising ceremony, which was quite eventful. There were lots of people on stilts and dancing — it was quite festive. It was a really good experience.”
Attending the ceremony were Smith, Burch Stan Douglas — Bermuda’s chef de mission — King, Paul Pereech, Richard Johnson and Bermuda Triathlon Association president Neil de ste Croix.
Smith said: “The energy of an Olympic village is way different than anything I’ve ever experienced.”
The swim coach said he was in awe of the dining hall facility for the athletes.
“The dining hall is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen — it’s unbelievable. It’s a much bigger building than anything we have in Bermuda — it’s just massive.”
He added the sheer variety of food available would be more than enough to whet anyone’s appetite. Naturally, there is a selection of British food with different kinds of pies and carving stations, but there was a good variety of both American and Mediterranean foods as well.
“Anything you could imagine that you wanted to eat, was available.”