PARIS – France has become the first country to announce its flag bearer for the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang opening ceremony as Marie Bochet was named the flag bearer on Saturday.
Bochet has won four Paralympic Games titles in alpine skiing and comes to PyeongChang as one of the most decorated athletes not just from France but in the world. At just 23 Bochet has become one of the best alpine skiers in her standing classification in the world.
2017 was a phenomenal year with Bochet proving phenomenally difficult to beat, winning 14 world titles in the last four years, with 2017 being especially prolific. She had cemented her place as the best in the world and will travel to Korea as the world number one.
While Bochet’s friends and family were confident that she would be the flag bearer she was not so sure, knowing how big an honor it would be. That honor was granted to her by other members of the team and the French Paralympic Committee reflecting how highly she is held, not just for her skiing but as an ambassador.
Competing in five events at the Paralympic Games gives Bochet a very full schedule, with the first event, the Downhill the morning after the Opening Ceremony. It was that reason that Bochet did not attend the 2014 opening ceremony, but the honor of carrying the flag was too much for her to say no.
For Bochet the opening ceremony is a chance for great unity, that is not often seen at these major events with most athletes competing alone.
“This task is extremely important to me. In the French teams, there are generally gaps between each individual sport and our unity is what strengthened us at Sochi four years ago,” said Bochet. “This team is made up of varied but complementary personalities and I sincerely hope that we will form a solid team of supportive members. Although we are alone on D-day, competition day, sharing it is very important from my point of view.”
Bochet will be carrying the flag for the second winter ceremony in a row, having carried the flag at the 2014 Paralympic Games closing ceremony. She will be hoping to do at least as well as the last winter Paralympic Games flag bearer, Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, who managed to win a full set of medals, claiming bronze in the downhill, silver in the slalom, and gold in the giant slalom; although that would be a downturn for Bochet who won four gold medals in 2014.