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Maria Sharapova to carry Russian flag in opening ceremony

By Jerry Hinnen | Staff Writer

It's good to be Maria Sharapova.

In recent weeks the 25-year-old Russian has already won the 2012 French Open, completing the career grand slam, and become the world's No. 1-ranked women's tennis player. But she announced Wednesday that she's also received an arguably even greater honor, having been named her country's flagbearer at the London Games' opening ceremonies.

"Ahh finally I can share some exciting news with you!" Sharapova wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday. "After the third round of the French Open, I woke up to a pretty memorable message.

"The Russian Olympic committee chose me to be the flag bearer at this years Olympic opening ceremony. I am so honored, and especially excited as it will be my first Olympics in my career.

"I have had to keep this hush hush for two weeks and keeping secrets is not my best quality!"

Earlier this week Russia's sports minister had said that Sharapova was a candidate to carry the flag, but denied that she had already been selected. (Apparently, keeping secrets is not the best quality of the Russian Olympic Committee, either.)

Sharapova will follow in the footsteps of 2008 flagbearer Andrei Kirilenko, the NBA basketball star and nightmare tattoo enthusiast, and swimmer Aleksandr Popov, the 2004 flagbearer.

We at Eye on Olympics applaud the decision by the Russian Olympic Committe, if nor no other reason than that the (ahem) comely Ms. Sharapova will be a more interesting addition to our TV screens than the opening ceremonies' planned herd of sheep.

HT: Reid Cherner.
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