Grimmette to lead U.S. Olympic team at opening ceremony |

Grimmette to lead U.S. Olympic team at opening ceremony

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – At his fifth Olympics, it’s a first for luge athlete Mark Grimmette, chosen to be the flagbearer for the U.S. team at Friday’s opening ceremony.

Grimmette, the fourth American to compete at five Winter Olympics, won the vote of the American delegation Wednesday and will lead the team of 216 U.S. athletes. He was told of the decision by his longtime sliding partner, Brian Martin.

“I’m still shaking,” Grimmette said. “I was incredibly surprised when Brian told me, and I’m still trying to process it all. To be the person leading the U.S. team into the opening ceremony is just such a great honor.”

The 39-year-old Grimmette, who already has bronze and silver Olympic medals, almost didn’t make these Olympics. He and Martin needed to win a December race-off against Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall to make the Vancouver-bound team.

Grimmette, Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick and freestyle skier Casey Puckett are all making their fifth appearance in the Winter Olympics. Before them, only bobsledder Brian Shimer had been to five.

Grimmette becomes the third luge racer to carry the American flag, joining Frank Masley (1984) and Cammy Myler (1994).

“The exposure for the sport of luge is great,” Grimmette said. “We’re a small organization, but a hard-working organization.”

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