TURIN , Italy , March 19 AAP - Five-time Paralympian Michael Milton was
asked to be flagbearer at tonight's Closing Ceremony of the Torino Winter
Games but has asked for the honour to be given to one of the team's rising
stars, Tony Kane.
"We wanted Michael to be our flagbearer at the Closing because of all he
has done for winter disabled sport in Australia and for the recognition he
has given Paralympic sport both at home and internationally,'' Chef de
Mission Darren Peters said.
"But he came to me and asked that the honour be passed on to one of our
young guns in Toby Kane, who is the future of Paralympic Winter teams just
like Michael was when he came onto the scene as a 14 year-old back at the
1988 Innsbruck Games.
"I totally understand and applaud his graciousness. I just want people to
know what a wonderful career spanning 18 years and five Games Michael has
had and particularly his role at these Games in Turin. He was not only our
star athlete, he mentored the younger ones and passed on his knowledge and
Milton and Kane were Australia's only two medalists in Italy, with Milton
claiming his 11th Paralympic medal when he took silver in the downhill on
the opening day of competition last Saturday. Kane, 19, took bronze in the
Super-G last Tuesday standing on the podium with athletes in their 30s from
Austria and Germany.
It would have been Milton's fourth time as a flagbearer. He carried it at
the Closing Ceremony of the 1992 Albertville Paralympics after he won gold
in the Slalom to claim Australia's first alpine win in either Olympic or
Paralympic competition. He also carried the flag at the Opening Ceremony
for the 2002 Salt Lake City Paralympics, where he won four gold, and at the
Torino Parlyampics a week ago.