Speedskater Fontana selected as Italy’s Olympic flag bearer

October 24, 2017

Short track speedskater Arianna Fontana holds up the Italian flag after being nominated the country's flag bearer for the opening ceremony at the Pyongchang Olympics in February, at the Italian Olympic Committee, in Rome, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — Short track speedskater Arianna Fontana was named Tuesday as Italy’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.

The 27-year-old Fontana has won five Olympic medals, 14 world championship medals and 34 European championship medals over her standout career.

“The flag will serve as motivation,” Fontana said. “It won’t weigh me down.”

Fontana was selected ahead of Alpine skier Christof Innerhofer.

“We didn’t have doubts about Arianna. It’s her and it had to be her,” Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said. “She’s got a strong personality.”

Pyeongchang will be Fontana’s fourth Olympics. At the 2006 Turin Games, her first, she helped Italy to bronze in the 3,000-meter relay at the age of 15 — making her the youngest Italian to win a medal at the Winter Games.

She has also won Olympic medals in the 500 and 1,500 individual events.

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