Knight flies the flag for ParalympicsGB at spectacular Opening Ceremony in Sochi
on 07-03-2014 17:27
Fifteen year old Millie Knight proudly carried the GB flag into the Fisht Stadium tonight as the XI Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games were officially declared open in a spectacular ceremony.
Millie was joined by her guide Rachael Ferrier and team-mates Ben Sneesby and James Whitley, with the other athletes of ParalympicsGB watching from their respective villages as they prepare for competition to get under way early on Saturday morning (March 8).
“That was the best moment of my life!" Millie Knight
Making her Paralympic debut as the youngest member of the team, Millie was ecstatic to play her role in the ceremony. She said: “That was the best moment of my life!
“The feeling of coming out of the tunnel is impossible to put into words. When they called out Great Britain, it made the moment real for me. Up until that moment, it hadn't sunk in that I was going to lead out my country onto such a huge stage, but tonight has just been amazing. I am so proud to have had this honour - only a few people can say they were a flagbearer and I'm so excited that I'm one of them.
“All my friends and family were watching at home and I just want to thank them for their support over the years.”
ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe walked alongside the athletes as they marched into the Fisht Stadium. She was thrilled by the spectacle of the evening, saying: “We watched the ceremonies for the Olympic Games with anticipation and the Organising Committee here in Sochi have delivered a fantastic Opening Ceremony to get people excited for the next nine days of Paralympic sport.
“The whole team has been working so hard on their preparations for Sochi 2014." Penny Briscoe
“The whole team has been working so hard on their preparations for Sochi 2014 and I’m so pleased that this day is now here and we’re ready to go and make the most of the fantastic opportunities from this Games.
“Millie shone under the spotlight tonight and I’m incredibly proud of her. I’m sure our athletes have also enjoyed watching the Opening Ceremony together in their villages. I would have loved for all of the team to be able to enjoy this moment but it is absolutely right that they put performance first and are ready for the first day of competition tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to see them in action.”
The ceremony, entitled ‘Breaking the Ice’, was a joyous celebration full of music, dance and impressive visual effects. The message of the ceremony highlighted the importance of breaking down the barriers and stereotypes faced by people around the world every day. The cast featured performers of all ages and backgrounds and included disabled artists, similar to the highly praised ceremonies from London 2012.
Knight led the British athletes into the Fisht Stadium, entering through an installation called the light forest which changed colour to reflect the colour of the national flag for each of the 45 nations set to compete at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. The evening came to a close with a spectacular firework display over the Olympic Park.
On the first day of competition on Saturday, Knight’s team-mates in Alpine Skiing are entered in the Downhill while the wheelchair curlers face Canada at 09:30 in their opening match of the Games.