Khatuna Lorig chosen to carry U.S. flag in closing ceremony
BEIJING -- It turns out U.S. athletes, at least those who compete in the Olympics, have a world view.
For the opening ceremony, team captains selected Lopez Lomong, a Sudanese refugee, to carry the U.S. flag. For Sunday's closing ceremony, they selected Khatuna Lorig, a native of the Republic of Georgia, as the flag bearer. Georgia has been involved in recent weeks in a conflict with neighboring Russia.
Lorig, who now lives in West Hollywood, once competed alongside Russians and other former Soviet athletes as a member of the Unified Team in 1992. In '96 and 2000, she competed for Georgia. She moved to West Hollywood but didn't have her citizenship in time to compete for the United States in 2004.
She earned a berth on the U.S. archery team this year and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing.
"Being named the U.S. flag bearer for the closing ceremony is almost like winning a gold medal,'' said Lorig, who won a bronze in '92. "I thought I could win a gold medal in competition, but I never thought I'd have this opportunity. I'm truly, truly proud to be an American citizen and part of the U.S. Olympic team.''
-- Randy Harvey
Photo: For Khatuna Lorig, seen here during the women's individual archery competition, carrying the flag at the closing ceremony is a dream come true. Credit: Saurabh Das / Associated Press