Sporting legend and NBA champion Patty Mills will become the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag into an Olympic Games opening ceremony when he heads to Tokyo this month.
A proud Kokatha, Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam man, Mills will be once again be making history heading into his fourth Olympic Games, being the first Indigenous player to represent Australian Men’s Basketball at four consecutive Olympic Games.
Mills struggled to put into words what carrying the flag means to him but said he was honoured by all the support.
“As the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag bearer, my connection between our country — the land, the sky, the sea, our culture, our history and this particular moment runs extremely deep,” Mills said.
Mills said although he won’t be carrying the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander flags in the ceremony, he will have them with him in Tokyo.
“It’s one of those things that I am always going to carry those flags wherever I may be … being able to be a proud representative of our culture, our Australian culture, it’s always going to be there,” he said.
Mills will march alongside fellow four-time Olympian and swimming great Cate Campbell, who will be the first Australian female swimmer to carry the flag.
At the start of a new era for the Olympics, every nation will be led out by both a female and male flag-bearer.
This will be the second time both a male and female led the athletes for Australia at an opening ceremony, since the 1980 Moscow Olympics when Denise Robertson-Boyd and Max Metzker led the way.
By Teisha Cloos