As athletes prepare for the 2014 Sochi Paralympics to kick off with the opening ceremony on Friday night, the United States has announced the man who will be bearing the nation’s flag for the opening ceremony.
Team USA athletes voted for U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Alpine skier Jon Lujan to be the flag bearer at Fisht Stadium.
Lujan, 43, is a four-time national champion skier and will be competing in his first Paralympics game. While serving in Iraq, Lujan suffered permanent nerve damage and lower body paralysis as a result of rupturing two discs in his back and surgery.
“Obviously the flag to me represents our country, and ever since we became a country that flag has stood in every battle and every holiday, and it’s draped over the coffins of our fallen military,” Lujan said in a press release. “So there’s a lot of meaning behind that flag. To be able to carry it on an international level of this magnitude is unbelievable.
“I get a little choked up. I’m just going to wave it high, hold it high and be loud and proud.”
The opening ceremony will be aired live on NBCSN, so be sure to tune in to see all of the inspirational athletes prepare for two weeks of competition.