Benjamin Anthony Aguon Schulte has been named Guam’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Ben, or Benji, as he is known by family and friends on Guam, was thrilled and relieved at the announcement, made late Wednesday night by Team Guam’s Chef de Mission Joey Miranda III.
“Thank you so much for this. It’s the highest honor. I am all smiles, and I will be holding our flag high,” said Schulte, a two-time Olympian for Guam. “The London Opening Ceremony was something that I’ll never forget but this already tops that. I’m so excited to wave our flag. Thank you, GNOC and Guam. I am ready to make you proud.”
GNOC president Ricardo C. Blas congratulated Schulte by phone after the announcement.
“You deserve the opportunity and right to carry the flag and lead Guam into the Olympic Games,” said Blas. “Enjoy the ride and enjoy the Games.”
Miranda said every team member was considered for the prestigious honor, but Schulte’s appointment came after an elimination process between he and cyclist Peter Lombard, who qualified on merit.
“It came down to Benji’s achievements of two golds, a silver and a bronze at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby last summer, and a gold and silver medal at the Oceania Games in Suva, Fiji in June this year. That field included swimmers from New Zealand and Australia.
“We are proud of all our athletes and happy for Benji who has earned this honor,” said Miranda.