Shane Dobbin to fly New Zealand flag in Sochi

FLYING THE FLAG: Shane Dobbin in action.
FLYING THE FLAG: Shane Dobbin in action.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named long track speed skater and Vancouver Olympian Shane Dobbin flag bearer for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Dobbin was presented with the symbols of the New Zealand Olympic team today in a ceremony at the athletes village in Sochi, Russia.

With a background of flags of the world, the magnificent Fisht Stadium and the stunning snow-covered Caucasus mountains, Dobbin was cloaked with Te Mahutonga, the New Zealand team kakahu (cloak) and presented with the traditional pounamu pendant worn by the flag bearer.

Team members gathered to acknowledge the athlete with a formal greeting and karakea.

Chef de Mission Pete Wardell said Dobbin was selected as an athlete of great standing within the team, as a representative of the Olympic movement and with consistent and strong results in competition.

"Shane demonstrates the values we expect of an Olympian," Wardell said.

"He is respected within the team and has great mana amongst his peers. With proven results he is a world class athlete, a wonderful role model and an inspiration.

"Our flag bearers become part of our sporting history and we're delighted Shane will become one of a series of exceptional Olympic athletes who have led and inspired our teams."

Dobbin, father of 2-year-old Liliana, said he's proud to wear the cloak and lead the team on February 8 (NZ time).

"This is a great honour. To wear the beautiful team cloak and to walk into the Opening Ceremony together with the team is something I could never have imagined. I am determined to make the team, and our country, proud. Seeing the New Zealand Olympic Team compete as a child was an inspiration to me and I hope I can inspire a new generation, too."

Dobbin has been at the Olympic village in Sochi Russia for six days and is well underway with training. With some strong training performances behind him, Dobbin will first compete in Adler Stadium on February 9 in the 5000m and his favoured 10,000m on February 19.

The Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games takes place from 5am on Saturday.

Fairfax Media