U.S. flag bearer Mariel Zagunis. (Bernd Thissen / EPA )
LONDON -- Tradition will trump tradition at the Olympics.
There apparently was some consideration, albeit brief, that the United States would break with its long-held tradition and dip the flag at the opening ceremony, which was due to start at 9 p.m. London time (1 p.m. Pacific).
Not this time.
The tradition has been in place since the Games were held in Berlin in 1936. Most of the other countries taking part do follow the tradition of dipping their flag momentarily during the parade of nations in deference to the host country.
There was a bit of confusion about the issue when the U.S. flag bearer, fencer Mariel Zagunis, a two-time gold medalist, was asked about it at her news conference on Thursday. U.S. Olympic Committee's chief communications officer, Patrick Sandusky, clarified the matter on his Twitter account a couple of hours before the ceremony.
“To clear up something from yesterday’s news conference that seems to have been vague -- The USOC is not suggesting we dip flag at the OC,” he wrote. “We merely had not had a chance to discuss our recommendation with our flag bearer at the moment of the press conference. We spoke to her in conjunction with the AAC (Athletes Advisory Council) and made a recommendation to not dip the flag at the opening ceremony.
“This is not meant to be disrespectful to our amazing hosts, but rather just keeping with the American tradition of not dipping the flag. We are looking forward to a great games.”
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