TOKYO – Wheelchair racing superstar Brent Lakatos (Dorval, QC) has been named Canada’s Closing Ceremony flag bearer for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today.
Competing in his fifth Paralympic Games, Lakatos has captured four silver medals with one event still to go – the marathon. He opened his Tokyo 2020 meet with a silver in the men’s T54 5000m, which was the first time he raced a long-distance event at the Games. He followed that up with silvers in each of the T53 400m, T53 100m, and T53 800m. He also competed in the T54 1500m.
“It’s such an honour to be able to represent your country at a Games like this and then to be a flag bearer on top of that is amazing,” he said. “I’ve never done something like this before, I’ve stood on the podium, I’ve heard our anthem play, but I’ve never gotten to hold the flag. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope I make the country proud.”
The 41-year-old added long distance races to his slate in the past few years, making Tokyo 2020 his most ambitious and prolific Paralympic Games yet, and adding to his legacy as one of the best wheelchair racers ever.
Lakatos has now filled his trophy case with 11 Paralympic medals – one gold, eight silver, and two bronze. He has officially become Canada’s most decorated male wheelchair racer, surpassing André Viger’s 10 medals. Tokyo 2020 is his fifth Paralympic appearance (also Rio 2016, London 2012, Beijing 2008, and Athens 2004) with all 11 podiums coming from the last three Games.
“I think the coolest part is my parents are going to be watching this back home and they are going to be so proud,” Lakatos added. “That’s what I’ll be thinking of when I’m walking into the stadium with the flag bearers, the smile that will be on my parents’ faces.”
His final race of the Tokyo Games will take place on the last day of competition, ahead of the Closing Ceremony. The men’s T54 marathon starts at 6:30 a.m. JST on September 5 (5:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. PT on September 4 in Canada).
“I am so thrilled and proud to have Brent representing Canada as our Closing Ceremony flag bearer,” said Stephanie Dixon, chef de mission, Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team. “Brent is truly a phenomenal athlete and leader, and he has shown so much over the past 10 days in Tokyo just how versatile, driven, and exemplary an athlete he is. It has been exciting to cheer him on, and I'm looking forward to celebrating the incredible accomplishments of Brent and the entire team at the Closing Ceremony.”
The Closing Ceremony will take place on Sunday September 5 at 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT and will air live on CBC/Radio-Canada, with CBC’s preshow starting at 6 a.m. ET and Radio-Canada on air at 6:30 a.m. ET. It can also be livestreamed or watched on demand at Paralympic.ca/Tokyo-2020/live-stream-video-demand, cbc.ca/tokyo2020 and Radio-Canada.ca/jeux-paralympiques, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and the Radio-Canada Sports app.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games began on August 24, when eventual silver medallist Priscilla Gagné (Sarnia, ON) represented Canada at the Opening Ceremony as flag bearer, and will conclude on September 5. The Canadian team, featuring 128 athletes competing in 18 sports, has currently won 20 medals.