MILTON CHOSEN AS AUSSIE FLAG-BEARER
TORINO, Italy, March 9: FIVE-TIME Paralympian Michael Milton will carry
the Australian flag for the Torino Paralympics Opening Ceremony at the
head of the largest Australian team to ever compete at a Winter Games.
Milton , 32, put Paralympic winter sport on the map in Australia by
becoming the first skier to win a gold medal in either Paralympic or
Olympic competition with his Slalom victory at the 1992 Albertville
Paralympics. He has since won five more gold medals - the slalom in
Lillehammer in 1994 and the downhill, Super-G, slalom and Giant slalom
in Salt Lake City in 2002 - plus two silvers and two bronze.
A single leg amputee, Milton was flagbearer for the six athletes who
competed in Salt Lake four years ago and he will be flagbearer tomorrow
night (Friday 7pm Italian time, Saturday 5am, Sydney time) for the ten
athletes in the 2006 Winter team.
``It's an incredible offer twice over,'' Milton said. ``Opening
Ceremony is a special time of the Games when you really feel nervous
and things kind of hit you because you know the whole thing has
started. To be leading out your country in front of a big crowd is a
Chef de Mission and CEO of the Australian Paralympic Committee, Darren
Peters, said it is 'totally appropriate' that Milton carries the
``He is such a talented skier and a dedicated athlete, who is known and
respected across Europe and North America.''
It will be Milton's last Paralympic Games in a career spanning almost
20 years. And, although he won all four gold medals in the alpine
events at the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake, changes to the
classification system mean he is looking for 'one medal, any colour' at
"I just want to come home with metal around my neck for my last
Paralympic Games," he said.
Milton 's teammate and friend, Shannon Dallas, was chosen as team
captain, a role Milton filled in Salt Lake in 2002. Dallas, 28,
Australia's only sit-skier in Torino. He has had his best season in the
2005-06 northern winter gaining his first podium finishes in
international racing, including a European Cup title in Super-G and
finishing third overall for the European Cup season. He is also
currently ranked fourth in the world for downhill in his `sit-skier'