Team England have today revealed the host-nation flagbearers for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony as diver Jack Laugher MBE and weightlifter Emily Campbell.
Laugher, 27, became Britain’s first Olympic champion in diving with victory in the men’s 3m synchro, alongside Chris Mears, at Rio 2016. He won three Commonwealth golds on the Gold Coast to add to his two golds and silver won at Glasgow 2014, and only last month, he became the first British diver to win three medals at a single World Championships.
“I’m extremely honoured to be a flagbearer for Team England. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve watched the Opening Ceremonies with the amazing athletes who have stood before me carrying the flag and representing our country – and to be one of those people, within a home Games, is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little boy,” he said.
“This will be my fourth Commonwealth Games, so representing my country in Birmingham, where my mum is from, is amazing, and to carry the flag is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Campbell, 28, made history at Tokyo 2020 by becoming the first British woman to medal in weightlifting at the Olympics with silver. In 2021, she also won bronze in the World Championships as well as winning the European Championships in Moscow. She is aiming to build on her 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze to Bring It Home in 2022.
Reflecting on her selection as flagbearer, Campbell said: “‘I am extremely honoured to have the opportunity to fly the Team England flag high at the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It makes it so much more special that I get to do it in front of a home crowd on Midlands soil! It really doesn’t get any better than that.
“Being the first female weightlifter ever - and the first weightlifter to be flag bearer since the legend Precious Mackenzie in 1974 has me bursting with pride and I hope this moment will inspire other young girls to chase their dreams whether that’s in sport or anything else they have ambitions of becoming. I really can’t wait to get out there with the team!”
Mark England OBE, Team England’s Chef de Mission, said: “The athletes have been building towards this moment in their careers, and everyone connected to the team is so proud to be representing the home nation in Birmingham. Jack and Emily are symbols of Team England’s values, and it will be hugely inspiring to see them holding the country’s flag at the Opening Ceremony.”
With 429 athletes this is Team England’s most diverse Commonwealth Games team to date. The team features 67 para-athletes (16%) and, for the first time, there are more women then men (226 to 203) representing the host nation. This includes the team’s youngest athlete, 17 year-old cricketer Freya Kemp, and it’s eldest in 74 year-old lawn bowler Gill Platt.