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Brent Lakatos named Canada’s flag-bearer for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics closing ceremony

Brent Lakatos named Canada's flag-bearer for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics closing ceremony

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One of the busiest athletes at the Tokyo Paralympics just got a little busier.

Wheelchair racing star Brent Lakatos will carry Canada’s flag in Sunday’s closing ceremony, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced on Friday.

Lakatos has won four silver medals in Tokyo in the T53 100 metres, 400m, 800m and 5,000m. He missed the final in the 1,500m, but is still entered in Sunday’s marathon, in which he has a good shot at winning a fifth medal.

The Dorval, Que., native now has 11 career Paralympic medals across five Games. But Tokyo will be his first as a flag-bearer.

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“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,” Lakatos 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.” 

Lakatos’ Sunday schedule in Tokyo begins with the marathon at 6:30 a.m. and will conclude with his flag-bearing honour at 7 p.m.

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Canada’s chef de mission, Stephanie Dixon, said Lakatos is a “phenomenal” leader who she’s proud to have as flag-bearer.

“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,” she said. 

Live coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games closing ceremony begins on Sunday at 6 a.m. ET on CBC-TV, CBCSports.ca and CBC Gem.

WATCH | Lakatos speeds to 100m silver: 

Canada’s Brent Lakatos races to silver in men’s 100m T53

Wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., captures silver in the men’s 100m T53 final at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. 3:30

Lakatos and swimmer Aurélie Rivard have combined to win nine of Canada’s 20 medals in Tokyo thus far. Rivard heads home with a handful of hardware including two gold, one silver and two bronze. The 25-year-old was chosen as Canada’s closing ceremony flag-bearer in 2016.

Lakatos, 41, still holds world records in the 100m and 800m. He is one of only 10 Canadians to win at least 10 career Paralympic medals, along with Rivard.

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Gradual build to glory

But he nearly cut his Paralympic journey short.

Lakatos said he had considered retiring after Beijing in 2008. But he and his wife, British Paralympian Stefanie Reid, decided to compete in “one more” to try to get one more medal. 

“That was my goal going into London. I thought I would retire after London. I thought I would retire after Rio. Somehow, I’m still here and that number is slowly growing,” Lakatos said after his 400m silver in Tokyo.  

Lakatos’ climb into the top tier of Canada’s all-time Paralympic ranks was a slow one.

He missed the final in every event in which he competed at the 2004 Paralympic Games, before being reclassified to a category for athletes with slightly more severe impairments in time for 2008. In Beijing, he made every possible final, but missed out on the podium.

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London 2012 proved to be Lakatos’ breakout Games, when he took three silver medals. He won his gold medal in the 100m in Rio 2016, where he earned three other medals as well.

WATCH | Lakatos lands on 800m podium: 

Brent Lakatos adds another silver to Tokyo Paralympics medal haul

Wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., races to silver in the men’s 800m T53 final at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. 5:08

Still hunting for gold 

Lakatos was on the hunt for more gold in Tokyo.

“It’s been a lot of silver and I really wanted to bring home a gold. I really wanted to have our anthem played. I’m sure that, in a couple days, it will feel absolutely great,” he said after his 800m final.

Lakatos, who has medalled in each of the last two 100m dashes, is also somehow a major threat to win the marathon at the 2020 Games.

“I’ve got the marathon to focus on, so I’m going to think about that over the next couple of days and just try to come out and do my best,” he said. 

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Lakatos was victorious in both the 2018 Berlin and 2020 London wheelchair marathons.

Another win in Tokyo would secure his status as a Paralympic legend.



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